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The Christmas Issue


These goodies make delicious presents, whether it’s something special to take to a Christmas party or a gift to say thank you, your M&S Christmas will be full of cheer!



Choice of mint, orange or vanilla cream flavours

“This is not just any chocolate button, this is our Jumbo button with milk, dark and white chocolate – yum!” REBECCA ROBINSON, BUYER #MyMarksFave


NE W A Jumbo caramel swirl button



Milk chocolate and white chocolate with caramel swirled together and topped with fudge pieces. 180g.

NE W B Jumbo milk, dark and white chocolate swirl button €9.95


Milk, white and dark chocolate swirled together. 160g


NE W C Belgian milk chocolate biscuit tube



Belgian chocolate-coated cocoa biscuits, sandwiched with a mint cream filling. Also available with an orange or vanilla-flavoured cream filling. 220g


M U S T- HAVE HAM PE R G I F T S F RO M €19. 95



Mulled Wine Hamper €19.95

Two layers of chocolates


Afternoon Treats Hamper €39.95 IN STORE AND ONLINE


Deluxe Hamper €150

NE W D Milk, dark and white

NE W E Viennese biscuit



selection box


A timeless selection of family favourites with fruit and caramel centres. 1kg

assortment tin



A selection of classic all-butter Viennese biscuits in a decorative tin. 420g







Livvy’s Winter Woodland Cake by Livia Tabone. Photo by Brian Grech. See feature starting on page 34.


The Christmas Issue

Publisher The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation 56 Melita Street, Valletta VLT1122, Malta Editorial Board Paul Caruana Galizia Andrew Caruana Galizia Matthew Caruana Galizia


s we wrap up the Christmas issue of Taste&Flair, there is only one thought that comes to mind. Taste&Flair would not be here today without the years of love and dedication that Daphne Caruana Galizia put into creating and nurturing it. The December issue was always her favourite, filled with beauty, bringing joy into lives and homes. When, outside, all is turbulent, it is strange to write of the joy of Christmas, of gatherings with family and friends and of festivities yet to come. But, as events rapidly evolve and each day brings fresh revelations, remember that this, too, is part of Daphne’s legacy. With Taste&Flair Daphne brought beauty and joy into our lives. Now, more than ever, it is fitting to remember how much we all owe her justice.


Executive Editor Corinne Vella Editorial Assistants Megan Mallia • Amy Mallia Art Director Ramon Micallef +356 9949 1418 ram@box-design.net Advertising Manager & Editorial Contributor Sean Ellul +356 7921 0705 or 21 345 888 ext 123 sellul@independent.com.mt Advertising Assistant Christine Mifsud +356 21 345 888 ext 138 cmifsud@independent.com.mt Production Manager André Camilleri Production Assistant Conrad Bondin Prepress & Printing Print It

All communication about Taste&Flair magazine should be directed to Corinne Vella at corinne.vella@gmail.com No part of any issue of Taste&Flair may be reproduced without the prior agreement of the publisher. Distributed with The Malta Independent on Sunday*. The Malta Independent on Sunday is published by Standard Publications Ltd - Tel +356 21 345 888 *The surcharge on The Malta Independent on Sunday, or any charge for this magazine is retained by Standard Publications Ltd.

Follow Taste&Flair on “Chrismas Presence” Photo by Megan Mallia. See feature starting on page 68.



Surfacing the most beautiful spaces

Material: Cement Patterned Tiles. Christmas Tree by Floreal.

Marble | Quartz | Engineered Stone | Granite | Patterned Tiles | Quartzite | Ceramic | Engineered Wood Halmann Vella Ltd, The Factory, Mosta Road, Lija. LJA 9016. Malta T: (+356) 21 433 636 E: info@halmannvella.com


Have a glass of mulled wine & a mince pie whilst shopping and a taste of Baileys


San Gwann - Ind Estate, T: 2144 5654 Haz-Zebbug - Mdina Road, T: 2146 0987 hometrendscomplex | E: shop@hometrends.com.mt | www.hometrends.com.mt

Large selection of Electric, Gas & Ethanol Fireplaces, Stoves & Inserts Buy any 2 items get the 3rd one at half price

*Offer valid on the cheapest item






113 136 159

46 50 52 54 68 90 92 122 138 150 154

Spirit of the season Livia Tabone-Mangan’s luscious bakes and cakes

Tasting stars Andrew Azzopardi explores the world of Champagne

Notes from Apicius

A glass in time

In the orange orchard Claire Borg celebrates December’s golden harvest

168 190 209

Beautiful books

Ernst Haeckel

Opening doors The new Caravaggio wing at St John’s Co-Cathedral

Bird’s eye view Stunning new design by DStudio

On light and form Theresa Vella on Richard England’s iconic buildings

Exhibition Leonardo at the Louvre

Christmas presence Mandy Mallia’s gifts

Heidesand cookies Meike Peters’ fresh take on an old tradition

Swedish Christmas Susanna Diacono and Michael Diacono prepare a Smörgåsbord

Christmas classics Daniel Debattista’s celebratory feast

Cocktail culture Waterbiscuit’s low-alcohol drinks are the new trend

Coffee notes

The pleasure of tea Megan Mallia on the golden drink










A hand-picked range of hampers filled with gourmet foods and fine wines.



€50 €45












View the full range online at

www.christmashampers.com.mt €20





ORDER YOUR HAMPER GIFTS ONLINE THIS FESTIVE SEASON www.christmashampers.com.mt Email: hampers@attardco.com.mt Foo d Ltd

Phone: 2569 2801

or visit us at: Canter Business Centre, Patri Felicjan Bilocca Street, Marsa, Malta Victoria Gates, Fortunato Mizzi Street, Victoria, Gozo



A brand founded thanks to a mutual love of food one80 has built its reputation as a casual, yet upmarket brand with its first restaurant and lounge which opened in Mellieha in May 2016. With breathtaking countryside and sea views as well as consistently delicious food and impeccable service, one80 Kitchen & Lounge has become a favourite dining option for many.


n May 2019, one80 launched their second restaurant at the Mgarr Yacht Marina in Gozo. An all new dining concept in the area, the menu features a delicious selection of Mediterranean tapas, cicchetti based on a small plate, regular or large plate concept. So who is the talent behind this innovative concept? Meet Rouvin Zammit Apap and Jesmond Vella, sole owners and shareholders of the one80 brand. The talented duo met through their careers in five-star hotels. With many years of experience within the hospitality sector, as well as their mutual love for the food and drink service industry, they decided to direct their passion towards a brand of their own, and this is how one80 came about! Menus at one80 restaurants are updated seasonally, ensuring the freshest concepts and produce. Vegan and vegetarian options, as well as dishes to suit other dietary requirements are also available. A brand renowned for its welcoming atmosphere, outstanding views, locations and vast selection of delicious dining options, one80 outlets have become renowned for great entertainment experiences; the hottest destinations in Malta and Gozo. one80.com.mt

Braised pork cheeks, olive oil and thyme galette with a star anise and port wine jus by Head Chef Isaac Camilleri – one80 Kitchen, Mgarr Gozo

(serves 3 to 4) INGREDIENTS

1 kg lean pork cheeks 2 ltrs red wine 4 bay leaves, sprig of rosemary, sprig of thyme 500g red onions 1 whole head of garlic 500g carrots 500g celery 2 tbs tomato paste 1 tbs brown sugar 700ml pork stock 50ml vegetable oil 1 ltr port wine 3 star anise pods 700g local white potatoes 100ml olive oil salt


1. Large non-stick

pan on high heat. 2. Season pork cheeks with

salt and drizzle with oil (not to have extra fat in the pan). 3. Seal each cheek from both

sides till brown (do not burn). 4. After sealing all cheeks,

further heat the pan. 5. Roughly chop up all

root vegetables and halved head of garlic.




6. Add root vegetables to

piping hot pan and sauté till dark roast to extract flavour. 7. Create a bed of roast

veg in a deep oven dish and place cheeks above.

and tomato paste. After reducing add pork stock. 11. Cover with baking paper, then foil and braise for 3hrs at 180C.

4. Place parchment paper

above and bake at 170 degrees for 1hr 20mins. 5. Portion when cold,

heat in oven at 180C to obtain crispy edges.


8. Roast the tomato paste in



the still hot pan giving the tomato paste a darker colour.

1. Thinly slice the potatoes

on a mandoline slicer.

1. Add port and star

9. Add the 2 ltrs of red

2. Toss with olive oil and

anise pods to a saucepan and reduce to 200ml.

wine and reduce by half.

fresh thyme, salt to taste.

10. Add the bay leaves,

3. Lay the potatoes in a

rosemary and thyme to the dish, add the wine

deep oven dish (as you would do for a Lasagna).


and reduce together for a further 5 minutes. FINAL PLATING

Heat the pork cheeks in your super tasty jus, roast the potato galette. (Optional - add some steamed root vegetables to accompany the dish.) Spoon 3 cheeks right beside the potato galette and glaze with jus. Time to enjoy.

1. After pork cheeks are

cooked, strain all roasting juices in to a pot, add to the port and star anise reduction






Choosing presents is as much fun as receiving them. You’ll find something for everyone in the gift pages.






The Krups Evidence bean to cup coffee machine is designed to produce flawless results down to the last detail that will delight coffee connoisseurs. With its elegant, timeless design and compact dimensions, this premium machine fits any kitchen, while 15 one-touch drinks make it easy to brew all your family`s favourites. The easy to use OLED display with touch controls puts full drink-making control at your fingertips.

Make Christmas a feast for all your senses with Vini e Capricci. As you gather family and friends near, enjoying those Christmas-time traditions, task Vini e Capricci with providing the tastes to accompany these cherished shared moments. Browse our Festive Season Catalogue and select from among our fine collection of Christmas hampers and gift ideas. Get the world on a plate this Christmas. Make it a truly wondrous affair, as you enjoy those melt in your mouth, and melt your heart moments. www.viniecapricci.com

Butlers is the home specialist when it comes to a big occasions such as Christmas, from Christmas lights to charming Christmas décor on dining tables and vast Christmas ornaments for all genres of living spaces. Visit our store in Tower Road, Sliema, and prepare the perfect setup this Christmas at your home for your loved ones.

MASI set of 3 wines, Price: €50. Masianco Pinot Grigio Verduzzo 75cl, Rosa dei Masi 75cl, Campofiorin 75cl. Branded wooden box. View the full range online at www.christmashampers.com.mt Free delivery on orders over €25



Lola Hamper, Price: €60. Includes Fiorucci salami norcinetto 100% carne Italiana 200g, Fiorucci Cotechino 500g, Fiorucci aceto balsamico IGP 250ml, Lentils 400g, Pear and chocolate panettone 500g, Dark chocolate and hazelnut truffles 70g, Villa Gianna Spumante Brut 75cl, Chocolate covered soft nougat 250g, Mixed sweet truffles 85g. View the full range of hampers online at www.christmashampers.com.mt Free delivery on orders over €25.


This is not just any Christmas. This is an M&S Christmas

The M&S magical Musical Rotating Christmas Tree Biscuit Tin is back for Christmas 2019 with an updated design. This treeshaped tin, with its sparkly gold decoration, plays a festive song as it turns to get everyone into the Christmas spirit. Packed with delicious little mini-shortbread Christmas tree biscuits, it makes a perfect present they’ll want to keep. €15.00


our social calendar’s looking chock-a-block, the first mince pies have been eaten and festive decorations are popping up everywhere: it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. If you’re determined to get at least some Christmas shopping done before the big day arrives, our food gift guide is here to help. Edible gifts are always a good idea, whether you’re looking for a way to spoil the gin lover in your life or you need sweet treats as stocking fillers. We know it’s the busiest time of year, so we’ve made things easier for you by showcasing the best M&S Food has to offer right here.



M&S's baked in Edinburgh all butter Scottish shortbread assortment features deliciously buttery, light, crunchy biscuits that are perfect for dunking. €15.00

Chocolate fans will love our luxuriously indulgent Belgian Collection. If you need a gift for a family or to thank your host, try a box of milk, white and dark family favourite chocolate biscuits, smothered in amazing Belgian chocolate. €25.00

“TREAT them to their Christmas #MyMarksFave this year with our curated list of festi e foodie finds


Your guests will appreciate the simple and timeless beauty of this elegant set from Brandani. Shimmering crystal and a gold rim will make this lovely collection the centre of every table. CoseCasa, 77 Three Churches Street, Balzan. Tel: 2144 7672.

The Acqua di Parma Hat boxes, featuring a fragrance and two scented products in a lovely themed gift box, makes them the perfect gift for Christmas. The hatboxes designed by Gio Pastori are available in both the floral and in the deep, rich cologne concentrates from Acqua di Parma. Available from camilleriparismode Rabat and Sliema.

Bespoke hampers filled with unusual premium quality and artisan products that literally stand out from all the rest? Dical House of Mosta outskirts is the place to visit, offering an extensive selection of gourmet products hailing from various countries many of which produced in small limited batches. Think ahead to enjoy the widest choice possible. Pay a visit to create exclusive gifts and hampers based on your taste and budgets. Call on 21424600/1 or email foods@dicalgroup.com today as Christmas is just around the corner. Dical House is open every day in the festive season including Christmas day/eve, boxing day, New Year’s Eve/day. www.dicalhouse.com



The Cleland & Souchet Hamper Collection. A distinctive collection of genuinely extraordinary hampers and gifts. Each is expertly prepared and guaranteed of offer you the unrivalled quality and excellent value that you expect from Malta’s leading luxury lifestyle retail brand. Visit their website or pop into their shop at Portomaso for more information. Parking for patrons is free. Cleland & Souchet, Block 14, Portomaso, St Julians. Phone 2138 9898. Enquiries info@clelandsouchet.com Online Sales www.clelandsouchet.com

Metafisica candle from Fornasetti, the latest design in the collection, exclusive to camilleriparismode, celebrates the iconic face of Lina Cavalieri, redesigned with a quirky shutter feature over her eye. After the decadent candle has burned out, enjoy the beautiful ceramic vessel that makes a unique addition to any home. Available from camilleriparismode Rabat and Sliema.




Dical House offers an extensive selection of quality spirits and liqueurs, some of which are exclusive to the Dical House Cellar. Ideal for gifting on their own or as part of a distinctive Dical House hamper any time of the year. Dical House is open all day, every day, during the Christmas period with shorter days on Christmas Eve/Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve/Day. Choose your Christmas gifts from the Dical House Catalogue or pay a visit to enjoy customising your own unique gifts and hampers. Corporate clients are invited to set a personalised meeting via foods@dicalgroup.com or tel: 2142 4600/1. www.dicalhouse.com 



Fragranced natural wax candles. A timeless collection of highly fragranced natural wax candles in a lovely container complete with a paper weight lid. Grey & Adler, Toni Bajada Street, Naxxar. Tel: 2740 6407 www.greyandadler.com



Dark Lights. These limited-edition candles are housed in deep-black glass vials embossed with an elegant golden crest. A stunning ornament for any bureau or mantelpiece, all you’ll need to do is light the wick to unleash a scent so deep it will transport you to worlds beyond our own. Grey & Adler, Toni Bajada Street, Naxxar. Tel: 2740 6407 www.greyandadler.com

Lifelike Beauties. Each flower in this beautiful arrangement has been skillfully hand-crafted and given a special natural coating to make it look and feel just like the real thing. Enclosed with your natural-touch flowers is a bottle of scented perfume, which you can spray directly onto the flowers to refresh and enhance their built-in, gelinfused fragrance. In other words, it’s all the pleasure and none of the pain. Grey & Adler, Toni Bajada Street, Naxxar. Tel: 2740 6407 www.greyandadler.com

Spiritual Liquids. A wonderful gift or a great first step into the world of whiskies, this handsome wooden box contains the elixir that will see its owner through the festive season and beyond. Grey & Adler, Toni Bajada Street, Naxxar. Tel: 2740 6407 www.greyandadler.com


SAMBONET Sphera collection. INSULATED ICE BUCKET, WINE COOLER, INSULATED WINE COOLER. A contemporary collection in which functionality lives with the stylistic reminiscence of “The spaceage”. The vintage design concept was developed in the second half of the ‘60s.

Always a winner with VINCI! VINCI San Gwann & Msida, tel: 2124 5954, www.vincimalta.com, info@templemalta.com

NACHTMANN - Jules collection - durability and functionality in shiny crystal glass. PITCHER 1 LITRE, LONG DRINK GLASSES SET OT 4, ALL PURPOSE GLASSES SET OF 4, WHISKY TUMBLERS SET OF 4. This collection is the work of young Australian designer, Oliver Bryant. A contrast between complex and precise appearance, these contemporary-style glasses are suitable for every day and you can match individual pieces with virtually any place setting.

SPIEGELAU - Highline Decanter. The mouth-blown HIGHLINE decanter is the result of Spiegelau’s perfect craftsmanship. This decanter is not only a beautiful vessel for breathing and serving wine. Sophisticated and elegant, it sets right scene for enjoyable moments.

POINT VIRGULET - Bamboo Serving Board. The Point-Virgule serving board is made of bamboo material. At 75 cm long, 14 cm wide and 1.9 cm thick, it is a perfect board for serving cold cuts or cheese and crackers. WMF - SOMMELIER WINE BOTTLE OPENER 5 PC SET. Each product in the Baric collection is developed to function reliably and precisely and yet easy to use. High-quality materials and an extremely careful manufacturing process make this set a premium product with an elegant design.

VIN BOUQUET - Vintage Copper Cocktail Set. This set consists of the essentials for cocktail making shaker, jigger and a stirring spoon. The lovely aged copper finish is a throwback to the past, tickling the vintage aesthetics of cocktail lovers.




The S. RAUSI TRADING GIFT LIST 2019 includes a selection of Maltese and imported wines, spirits, confectionery items and other delicacies which are reasonably priced and which will make the perfect gift this Christmas. A delivery service is available to all parts of the island at no extra cost. Please visit our website www.srausi.com for the full gift list and further information. S. Rausi Trading Ltd., info@srausi.com, tel: 2133 0477, 2131 6210, 7909 3197. Everyone needs a break from the everyday routine to unwind. Why not have a break at a 5-star hotel? With all 481 rooms and suites all elegantly furnished, and with the Highline Suites located on the hotel’s higher floors, InterContinental Malta caters for all guests’ needs. This Christmas gift your loved one with a voucher for a stay, including breakfast and a fancy dinner or two. For more information: https://malta.intercontinental.com/

Gift Vouchers from Joinwell. Everyone loves a beautifully furnished home. Gift Vouchers from Joinwell are suitable for any occasion and can be used against furniture, home accessories and even giftware. Joinwell Home is brimming with accessories that make beautiful gifts for Christmas and beyond. Joinwell Home is located within the Joinwell Showroom, in Mill Street Qormi. No matter what you require, whether it’s a formal event, an intimate gathering or a family meal, The Villa in Balluta Bay, St Julian’s can cater for you. The Villa welcomes you and your loved ones to create memorable moments with us. To book an event, contact The Villa on  events@maltamarriott. com or 2311 2107/8. To book for Christmas or New Year, contact festivebookings@ maltamarriott. com or 2311 5581




Spend €100 and get a free gift worth €30 at Joinwell. Get that special gift for your loved ones and another one for yourself with Joinwell. Our Christmas offer is back. Spend €100 on Rivièra Maison, Villeroy & Boch, Eightmood or any other brand from our Home section and we’ll treat you back with a free gift. Caring and sharing with Joinwell.

Iv Cellars is a specialist wine and spirit importer and distributor serving the restaurants, wine bars and retail trades in Maltese Islands. From our earliest days we have worked with family owned producers whose products have a distinct sense of place and whose members see themselves as custodians of a legacy for future generations. This long term focus and desire to work with the best and not necessarily the most fashionable has led to the unique portfolio we have today. A portfolio that contains many of the world best producers from,12 countries, at the last count. Iv Cellars, Triq Sir Arturo Mercieca (near The Diplomat Hotel), Sliema. Email: iv.cellars@gmail.com, Facebook/IvCellars


The Farsonsdirect Approach

Celebrate Christmas with Farsonsdirect Christmas has arrived at arsonsdirect with hampers piled high with sought after fine wines stand out bottles from prestigious brands, thoughtful gifts, spirits to savour and, of course, plenty of Champagne.


ocated in the heart of Mriehel, Farsonsdirect is a prestigious boutique which has become Malta’s first choice for wine, spirits and much more. We recently renovated our 300sqm establishment, revamped our brand identity, and introduced a new range of products and services, in time for the new festive season. Over the years our buyers have sourced more than 2000 branded beverages, selecting the best from each region of the world. At Farsonsdirect we have a fully-stocked collection of world-renowned wines, spirits, beers, soft drinks, water, juices and mixers complemented by a selection of premium gourmet foods. We cater for every taste from Laphroaig Single Malt Whisky to Bollinger Champagne, a complete vertical of Japanese whiskey, the prestigious Remy Martin Louis XIII, wines from Tascad’Almerita (recently awarded ‘European Winery of the Year’), exclusive Petrus and Screaming Eagle wine vintages and a whole host of craft beers, liqueurs, gins, vodkas and so much more. Aficionados can now also find a range of Spiegelau glasses and Pulltex accessories that make your favourite drink that much more enjoyable.

Our exclusive wines range from interesting bottles for everyday drinking to an exceptional selection of fine wines. We have introduced a dedicated temperature-controlled cellar section in the boutique and launched an Enomatic machine where you can taste a selection of the wines on offer. If you’re looking for the perfect gift for friends and family, or for clients or deserving colleagues, pick out one of our hampers or build your own. At Farsonsdirect, we keep Christmas gifting simple by designing hampers for those who love to gift or the ones who love to host. We have extensive experience supplying wine and spirits for events ranging from small parties to large weddings. This Christmas, we can help ensure that your food and wine pairings hit the mark and we are always happy to help you select the best drinks and advise on the right quantity to make your occasion a memorable one. Shopping at Farsonsdirect is even more enjoyable thanks our dedicated free parking space and we look forward to welcoming you this Christmas. Farsonsdirect, The Brewery, Mdina Road, Zone 2, Central Business District (Mrieħel), Birkirkara. Christmas opening hours from Sunday 8th December: • • •




M&S Classic Christmas Gift Box. Open up a box of delights with these Christmas classics, including a top-iced bar cake, pudding, cranberry and clementine Jaffa cakes, jam, chutney and little shortbread trees. M&S Classic Christmas Gift Box €50. In the event of supply difficulties, or with discontinued products, M&S reserves the right to offer alternative goods or packaging of equal quality and value.

Is it really Christmas without an extraordinary gift? Give a Nescafé Dolce Gusto machine this Christmas. With 11 machines to choose from, you surely can’t go wrong. Each machine design has different shapes and colours, but they can all create 29 coffee blends to meet one’s needs. You can choose from a short Espresso for that morning kick, a Chai Latte for those who don’t like coffee or a hot chocolate to drink near the Christmas tree. Look for the Nescafé Dolce Gusto products from leading supermarkets in Malta and Gozo.


GIFTS This Festive Season, reward yourself with a Lagostina LAGOEASY’UP® Mia® 5L Pressure Cooker for only €139.00. With over 100 years of experience, the reputable Lagostina brand, synonymous with Italian fine cooking, presents pressure cookers that embrace an ultimate combination of Italian elegance, guaranteeing ease of use and uncompromising performance.  The pressure cookers are made out of 18/10 stainless steel and are covered by an astounding 25 -ear guarantee on their stainless steel parts, against material and manufacturing defects. Visit the full Lagostina range at Oxford House Triq L-Imdina, Birkirkara, open Monday to Friday from 9-7 or on Saturday 9-1 and do not miss out on this opportunity.

VGB Art have a wide selection of gifts ideal for anyone who loves art. Choose from boxed sets of acrylics, oils or water colours; marker and brush packs, sketch books, portfolios as well as table or floor-standing easels. Whether it’s a young budding artist or a seasoned professional, you’re sure to find that perfect gift. Browse through the online shop at www.vgbart.com. mt or drop by the shop in Bellavista Street San Gwann, where the experienced sales team will help you make the right choice.

Give a cup of Joy this Christmas with Tettiera.  The loose-leaf tea collection is available in its iconic tubes and pouches, eco-friendly tea sacs and a vast elegant gift box collection including the innovative tea and cacao pralines. The LUX Tubes offer different tea ritual experiences and are the ideal gift boxes to give this Christmas.  If you are looking for social or corporate gifts, get in touch and find out how fascinating a tea box can be. A simple cup of tea is far from a simple matter. www.tettiera.com




Vivendo Workspaces

The evolution of a brand

This November DEX Workspaces, the trusted name in workspace and o ce solutions changed its name to Vivendo Workspaces, and the change didn t come lightly. The new name brings the business unit closer to the Vivendo family of brands completing Malta s most advanced o ering across workspaces hospitality and wellness.


ivendo has moved on from selling beautiful furniture to creating customised workspaces. The name change is the last step to ensure that the B2B division in workspaces provides an even better experience for the consumer looking for an all-in-one workspace solution. Vivendo’s commitment to their customers remains the same. The revamp of the showroom allows all architects and design professionals to use the workspace models for their meetings, and creates a holistic experience where clients can sample different textures and products first-hand. There is an Acoustics Room to showcase their sound-absorbing features, and an Auditorium, with step-like seating and audiovisual facilities. The showroom is the exclusive showcase for Vitra and Technogym brands. Furthermore, Vivendo have expanded their range of customised furniture designed by their in-house team. Vivendo Workspaces’ ultimate aim is to become the partner of choice for fullyintegrated workspaces, hospitality, and wellness spaces. CEO Chris Gauci says “we do not believe in standing still and letting innovation happen on its own. We believe in making that innovation happen ourselves.” Vivendo Workspaces Mdina Road, Qormi, QRM 9011 t. +356 2277 3000 e. workspaces@vivendo.mt w. vivendo.mt



Eames Fiberglass Chairs, Charles & Ray Eames, 1950 The Fiberglass Chairs were launched on the market in 1950, introducing a new furniture typology that has since become widespread: the multifunctional chair whose shell can be combined with a variety of bases to serve different purposes. Over the course of the following decade, the Fiberglass Chairs became one of the best- known furniture designs of the twentieth century.

Purchase 6x Eames Fiberglass Side Chairs for your dining room and receive an Eames Plastic Armchair LAR as a gift! Offer ends 31st January 2020.

Available at your exclusive, local Vitra dealer: Vivendo Group, Mdina Road, Qormi, QRM 9011 路 Francesca Puglisi 路 2260 7383 路 fpuglisi@vivendo.mt 路 vivendo.mt






Spirit OF THE


Put Livia Tabone-Mangan’s luscious cakes and bakes on your Christmas menu. They’re the perfect centrepiece for your tea table – if you can resist them long enough. Photography: Brian Grech




Christmas biscuit tree Sweet and spicey

Baking time: 15 minutes • Makes several pieces YOU WILL NEED

180g sugar • 85g golden syrup • 100g utter cu ed 50g plain flour • 4 teaspoons ground ginger 2 teaspoons ground mi ed spice • ¼ teaspoon salt 1 level teaspoon o icar onate o soda dissolved in 1 teaspoon o water • 1 egg lightly eaten TO DECORATE

ed and green glac cherries halved 1 card or polystyrene cone • oil • oyal icing

1. Into a microwaveable bowl, add the sugar, golden

syrup and butter, then heat for a minute or so until the butter has melted and the sugar has begun to dissolve. Beat vigorously with a fork until the mixture turns to a pale golden colour, then set aside. 2. Into a large bowl, sift the flour, spices and salt,

then using a balloon whisk, mix until the spices are well distributed into the flour. Add the melted butter mixture into the flour, together with the dissolved bicarbonate of soda, and then the egg. 3. Using a silicone spatula mix the batter until

it’s smooth and a workable consistency. Then use your hands to bring the dough together without kneading it and pop it into a clean plastic bag and refrigerate for an hour or so until it firms up. 4. Flour a work surface and divide the dough in half.

Roll out the first dough ball and stamp out the stars. Repeat the process with the second dough ball. Gather all the pastry trimmings to create more stars. 5. Preheat the oven to 190°C and transfer the stars onto

lined baking sheets, leaving enough space between them. Bake for between 12-15 minutes, keeping an eye on them at the 12-minute mark to ensure they don’t become too brown. Once cool enough to handle, transfer them to a wire baking rack to cool and crisp up. 6. For a quick option, you can purchase icing pens to

decorate the stars, otherwise sift 150g of icing sugar into a bowl and very slowly add enough lemon juice or water to form a thick paste, stirring constantly. Transfer into a piping bag to decorate the stars and set aside for the icing to dry completely. 7. Wrap the cone in foil. Working from the base

upwards, put small dollops of icing onto the back of the biscuits and press them into place. Set aside until the icing sets. Before serving, press the glacé cherries into the gaps between the biscuits.







Christmas Cake Blondies Soft, crumbly, studded with cognac-infused fruit and topped with marzipan, these are lighter than traditional Christmas cake.

Baking time: 45 minutes • Makes 16 YOU WILL NEED

1 0g utter cu ed • 200g sugar • 2 eggs 250g plain flour • 1 ½ teaspoons aking powder ¼ teaspoon salt • 1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon 100g dried cran erries • 100g sultanas 150g dried apricots chopped • 4 ta lespoons cognac TO DECORATE

ome o your avourite am warmed slightly in the microwave oven 1 pack ready made white mar ipan di le gold dust • old sugar decorations

1. Begin the night before by placing all the dried

fruits into a small bowl, then pour the cognac over them and allow them to soak till the next day. 2. Grease and line a square 20cm baking

tin and preheat the oven to 180°C. 3. To make the blondies, put the butter and sugar

into a large microwaveable bowl and heat for about 1 minute until the butter is completely melted. Mix briefly, then put aside to cool. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon, then mix well. 4. Crack 2 eggs into the cooled butter and sugar

and beat with an electric whisk until pale. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and fold until all the flour has been mixed in. Next, gently fold in the soaked fruits without over-mixing the batter and spread neatly into the prepared baking tin and level out the top. 5. Bake for about 45 minutes then insert a

toothpick into the center of the blondies to ensure it comes out clean. Transfer the baking tin onto a wire rack and allow to cool to room temperature before lifting the blondies out onto a cutting board. 6. Roll out the marzipan to the exact same

measurement as the top of the cake. Brush the surface of the cake with jam and lift the marzipan onto the cake, pressing it down gently with the palm of your hand. Using a fine paint brush, dust the marzipan with gold dust, cut into squares and sprinkle on the gold sugar decorations.







Florentines The mixture tends to spread into uneven shapes when baking. If you prefer your Florentines to be perfectly round, try baking them in a mu n mould.

Baking time: 10-12 minutes Makes 10


golden syrup to a saucepan over a medium heat, stirring until the butter has melted.


50g utter • 50g sugar • 50g golden syrup 50g plain flour • 50g slivered almonds 5g glac cherries nely sliced 25g crystallised ginger nely sliced 15g dried cran erries nely sliced

2. Remove the pan from the heat


grease a silicone muffin tray and add a teaspoon of the dough into the base of each mould, spreading it out with the spoon. Bake for about 12 minutes until golden. Allow to set in the mould for at least half an hour before popping them out.

5g dark chocolate melted in the microwave 0g white chocolate melted in the microwave


1. Begin by adding the butter, sugar and

and immediately add the flour, sliced dried fruits, ginger and almonds. Mix carefully to form a smooth dough. 3. To create evenly-sized Florentines,


4. For more rustic-style Florentines,

5. Set the Florentines upside down

line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and drop a teaspoon of mixture onto the sheets leaving a large area between each cookie for it to spread, which it will. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until bubbling and golden. Allow to harden on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes, then using a spatula lift carefully onto a wire rack to cool completely.

on your work surface and spread the bottoms with melted dark chocolate using a spatula. Before the chocolate sets, create a wave pattern through the chocolate by using a fork. Allow the dark chocolate to set for a few hours before upturning again and drizzling the top with melted white chocolate. 6. Store the Florentines in an air tight

container at room temperature.


Chocolate Espresso Financiers Crumbly, dark chocolate cake topped with smooth white chocolate these financiers are a chocaholic s dream.

Baking time: 30 minutes Makes 10


120g utter so tened to room temperature • 120g sugar 2 eggs • 0g sel raising flour • 0g cocoa 1 heaped ta lespoon ground espresso powder 1 pinch o salt • 2 ta lespoons milk TO DECORATE

hite chocolate chopped into chunks • resh holly

1. Begin by preheating the oven

to 180°C and generously grease your financier mould. 2. Providing the butter is really soft, put

all of the batter ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer. Beat on the lowest speed for the first few seconds, to avoid the flour flying out of the bowl, then gradually increase the speed to mediumhigh. Keep beating until the mixture has turned smooth and chocolatey and stop at this point to avoid over-beating. 3. Carefully fill the financier forms

with equal quantities of batter. Once complete, tap the mould onto the work surfaces to ensure the batter has properly filled all the corners. 4. Bake for between 25-30 minutes

until well risen and springy to the touch. Set aside to cool completely before attempting to turn the cakes out onto a wire rack. 5. For the chocolate drizzle, place

the chocolate into a microwaveable bowl and heat for 30-second increments until all the chocolate has melted and no chunks remain. 6. Carefully spoon the melted

chocolate onto the surface of each cake, allowing it to drizzle slightly over the edges. One the chocolate has set, place holly on top to decorate.





Livvy’s Winter Woodland Cake with Clementine & Cinnamon The decorations for this cake need to be made at least 12-24 hours prior to assembling it, as they need time to set and dry, therefore begin with this step. The pine cones and twigs are from a private garden.

Baking time: 30 minutes





180g salted utter so tened at room temperature • 180g sugar eggs • 180g sel raising flour • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 2 ta lespoons o rind rom a ar o clementine am you can also use thick cut shreds rom a ar o marmalade FILLING

100g cream cheese • 100g clementine am or marmalade FROSTING

150g cream cheese • 60g icing sugar si ted • a splash o milk DECORATION

1 egg white • 150g caster sugar • resh rosemary sprigs resh red currants • alnut halves • tar anise innamon uills • wigs rom a pine tree • ine cones

Add the caster sugar to a flat dish, and in a bowl, beat the egg white until frothy. Using a small, clean paint brush or a basting brush, lightly coat the variety of decorations with froth from the egg, then immediately roll into the sugar, tapping off any excess sugar if necessary. Lay the sugared decorations flat onto a sheet of foil and set aside to dry overnight. Preheat the oven to 180°C, then grease and line two 20cm cake tins with baking paper. To make the cake, in the bowl of your electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar then beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Next add the eggs slowly, one at a time and beat until all the egg is incorporated. Sift the flour and cinnamon on top of the mixture and fold it in gently. Finally add the citrus rind and give it one more gentle mix. Pour the cake mix evenly into the tins and bake for about 30 minutes or until the sponge springs back when lightly pressed. Set aside to cool completely then remove from the tins. For the filling, beat both of the ingredients together with a fork until smooth, then apply to the surface of one of the cakes and transfer to a cake stand, then neatly place the other cake over the filled cake and align the edges. For the frosting, add the 3 ingredients to a medium bowl and beat well with a fork until all the icing sugar is incorporated into the cream cheese. Apply neatly to the top of the cake with a spatula and spread it to the edges. Get creative and position the sugar decorations onto the surface of the cake just before serving.




TASTING STARS Special occasions call for Champagne, but there’s a whole world of glamourous e ervescence to be discovered that you could drink with any meal during this festive season says Andrew Azzopardi


am deeply in love with Champagne. Seductive but elegant, delicate yet rich, mineral and creamy with an often-charming autolytic character, it is a tingling mouthful of gorgeousness – the Monica Bellucci of drinks. I can never say no to vintage Champagne. The region of Champagne is equally beautiful and charming. An area steeped in history and religion, surrounded by picturesque chalky-vineyards reminiscent of the countryside in England’s South Downs. I visited the area last year as part of a business trip that I simply couldn’t refuse. I distinctly remember the clean, cold fresh air, the intense smells, the warm hospitality of the people, and an abundance of the most beautiful sparkling wines I’ve ever had in three days. Champagne, in the north-east of France, is the only place in the world where a bottle of traditional-method sparkling wine can be called Champagne, the name that is synonymous with style, elegance, luxury and celebratory moments the world over. Yet the area of Champagne was not always the envy of other sparkling wine-making areas, but rather used to begrudge their neighbours in Burgundy for making some of the most elegant wines in the world. The climate in Champagne is colder than Burgundy’s, thus acidity was often too high, and the grapes would struggle to ripen, giving the Champenoise winemakers added hurdles to produce a wine to compete on the same scale as their neighbours’. That is, until the sparkling wine we know today as Champagne was created, or, rather, discovered by accident.



Legend has it that Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Pérignon had discovered a bottle of sparkling wine in his cellar. It was said that fermentation stopped short due to the cold weather when producing the wine, and then restarted the following spring after the wine was bottled. The second fermentation in the bottle produced carbon dioxide under pressure which was released in spectacular fashion once the bottle was opened. Upon trying the sparkling wine, Dom Pérignon is said to have exclaimed, “Come quickly, I’m tasting stars”. Though it is a remarkable story, it is unlikely to be true, especially considering that bubbles in wine were considered a flaw in those days. However, the climate in Champagne did have a huge influence on the discovery of the eponymous sparkling wine. I was told by one of the main Champagne houses that it was during the transportation of the wine to England that many of the wines started popping due to a second fermentation in the bottle. Upon arrival, the bottles that had withstood the pressure were enjoyed, and the rest is history. Nowadays Champagne bottles are thick enough to withstand the tremendous pressure of up to 6 bars and have an added cage round the cork to avoid the corks popping spontaneously. The méthode champenoise or Champagne Method is the only technique allowed under the auspices of the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) to make Champagne. The same organisation, a trade organisation established to manage the common interest of the growers and Champagne houses, had also reduced the variety of grapes allowed


Vintage Champagne is meant to be unique to that vintage and producer, of superior quality and have an ability to age and improve in the bottle for decades. in any blend of Champagne down to three, namely Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, where the latter two are darkskinned grapes and the chardonnay is light-skinned. A few other grapes are allowed in extremely tiny amounts. The traditional method of making Champagne is both fascinating and incredibly laborious. The winemaker first makes a still wine, known as a cuvée, by fully fermenting the grape must. Up to this point, the process is the same as any other still wine. The cellar-master then bottles the wine and adds a solution known as liqueur de tirage, which is a combination of yeast and sugar, to initiate a second fermentation in the bottle. The bottles are immediately closed with a crown cap and stored horizontally (the dead yeasts fall to the bottom as sediment). The wine is allowed to ferment for a minimum of 15 months on the lees for a non-vintage Champagne and three years for a vintage Champagne. After the aging process, the lees are pushed to the neck of the wine bottle for removal through a process called remuage’ or riddling. The master riddler gives the bottles a twist and a slight shake for several days while also increasing the angle of the bottles every time they are placed back in the pupitre (a typical wooden holding rack), till they face directly downwards, usually after around two weeks. A skilled remuer or masterriddler can often handle up to around 40,000 bottles a day and is a captivating sight to watch as he handles two bottles with the flick of a wrist, twirling them in unison and finally placing them in the holding rack at the perfect angle every time.

A skilled ‘remuer’ or master-riddler can often handle up to around 40,000 bottles a day.

Nowadays, many Champagne houses use automated gyropalettes to speed up the riddling process and reduce labour costs, but the more prestigious houses or cuvées still use the manual technique. After the lengthy riddling process, the lees are removed through a method known as dégorgement - the disgorging of the bottles by quickly opening the crown caps, removing the sediment and reclosing with the final cork that will only be removed again when the wine is ready to be consumed. A mixture of base wine and sucrose known as Liqueur d’expedition is added just before final corking, often determining the final sweetness of the Champagne. Champagne houses often produce a non-vintage house blend using a combination of different barrels of champagne from different years to produce a wine that is consistent year on year. In exceptional years only, the house would declare a vintage year and produce a flagship wine made from grapes harvested in that specific year alone. Vintage Champagnes are often only produced three to four times in a decade and are meant to be the highest expression of the house. Contrary to a non-vintage champagne which is usually meant to be familiar, typical of the house and drunk shortly after release, vintage Champagne is meant to be unique to that vintage and producer, of superior quality and have an ability to age and improve in the bottle for decades. The grapes used in a vintage champagne are often selected to be of highest quality, from one exceptional year, and aged on its lees for a minimum of three years.




Vintage Champagne is usually fuller and broader than the linear non-vintage Champagnes and tends to express more secondary and tertiary notes of brioche, cream, toast, baked apples or peaches as opposed to the fresh, fruitier flavours of citrus and green apple in non-vintage. It is also quite simple to distinguish a vintage champagne from a non-vintage Champagne through the actual year written on the bottle. If there is a date on the bottle indicating the year of harvest, then it’s a vintage Champagne. No date? Then it’s a non-vintage. The price is also a dead giveaway, where vintage Champagnes costs more to produce due to longer aging and superior grape selection. This brings me to the controversial but oft-asked question of value. Is vintage Champagne worth the extra money? The short answer is yes, however I daresay that an experienced palate and disposable income helps. Not many of us can really afford bottles of vintage Champagne whenever we want. My two little children have been sucking my pockets dry for the past three years, so vintage Champagne is only reserved for very special occasions when I know my guests will invariably ooh and aah at every sip of the liquid gold. On that sort of occasion, the food is befitting a vintage Champagne and the glassware isn’t a flute. Even though my wife chose the most beautiful crystal Champagne flutes for our dinner-set – heavy, stylishly rugged cut-crystal, designer-made flutes – I refuse to drink Champagne from them. I dare you to try your next glass of Champagne from a decent wine glass. It will be a revelation. Champagne is an effervescent wine with complex aromas that are sadly lost when drinking out of a flute, in the same way you lose all smell, flavour and enjoyment when drinking wine from a plastic cup.

Champagne with food Champagne is fantastic with food and there is a Champagne style for all types of food, from savoury to creamy to sweet. All too often we tend to drink the wrong Champagne with almond cake at the end of a wedding or with some sweet dessert at the end of a meal, instead of treating it as a wine to be drunk during a meal. The more commonly served brut and extra brut Champagne are to be treated as dry and extra dry wines which do not pair so well with sweets and desserts, but are great with shellfish, prawns, scallops, caviar, cream sauces, fried foods and most vegetables. Rosé Champagne works perfectly well with salmon, cured meats and chocolate covered fruit. Sweeter Champagnes, where the dosage liqueur can range from of 15 grams of sugar per litre for sec to 70 grams of sugar per litre for doux, are perfect for sweeter dishes such as fruit-based, honeyglazed or creamy to foie gras and salty cheeses.

You would be forgiven for thinking that Champagne is all about bling and no substance. I would also agree that the common run-of-the-mill Champagnes we often drink, though improving, can be described as somewhat overrated. Once you delve into the world of boutique growerChampagnes, luxury vintage Cuvées and the different styles available, you will realise there is a whole undiscovered world of glamourous effervescence you could drink with any meal during this festive season. If I could, I would drink Champagne all day, every day. Non-vintage Champagne with my eggs on toast for breakfast, rosé Champagne with smoked salmon for lunch and vintage Champagne with dinner. So, if you’re wondering what to get me this Christmas, I’ve just made your life that little bit easier.

Andrew Azzopardi is a wine specialist certified by the Wine and Spirit Education Trust



Single grape Champagne Sometimes, instead of traditionally blending the three typical Champagne grapes, winemakers choose to use a single grape variety such as a 100% Chardonnay which is referred to as Blancs de Blanc Champagne - crudely translated to ‘White of Whites’. This wine is typically refreshing and elegant when young, and fuller with mouth-coating buttered brioche flavours when aged. At the end of the spectrum a Blancs de Noirs is made entirely from dark-skinned grapes and can be a blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or a 100% single varietal Pinot Noir. These wines are generally fruiter, linear and elegant, but can come in a wide variety of styles especially since the percentage of blends can differ quite a bit.

Rosé Champagne Rosé Champagne – often the vintage ones are the most expensive on the shelf – can be made in one of two ways. The easier and more straight-forward method is to blend red wine with white to give a salmon colour to the liquid. Champagne is the only region in the world where you can legally mix red and white wine to make rosé. One of the most popular is rosés made using this method of blending and results in an invigorating explosion of freshly cut red fruits. The other, more demanding way of producing rosé is using the maceration or saignée method, where the delicate Pinot Noir grapes are lightly crushed and left in contact with their dark-coloured skins to infuse a light pink colour to the juice. The outcome is often fuller, with red wine attributes, including chewy tannins, spicy complexity and longevity.

Style is automatic. T I S S O T e v e r y t i m e s w i s s m at i c . U P TO 3 D AY S O F P O W E R R E S E R V E .



NOTES FROM APICIUS The first recorded cookery book is an ancient Roman one a manual compiled by M. Gavius Apicius who lived in the time of the mperor Tiberius. The version of Apicius that we know and call by his name is really the much adapted work of editors and almost certainly far removed from the original. THE ROMAN DINNER PARTY A Roman dinner of the more elaborate kind consisted of three main parts: the entrée, called gustum, gustatio or promulsis; the main course, called mensae primae; and the dessert, called mensae secundae. This menu plan was not much different to ours today, and yet the contents are likely to have made most of us feel faint. The first course would consist of eggs prepared in various ways, raw and cooked vegetables, salt fish, oysters, mussels, snails, and dormice. The second course was made up of roast or boiled meat and poultry. Fruit and sweets were served for dessert. A little wine, mixed with water, was drunk during the meal, but the serious drinking began after the eating was done. Instead of saying ‘from soup to nuts’, the Romans used the phrase ab ovo usque ad mala (from the egg to the apples) for a full three-course meal. For the wealthier Roman, the most important social occasion was the banquet, when friends, clients and acquaintances would be formally invited to share the evening meal. This was a case of conspicuous consumption and hospitality to impress. “You will dine well at my house, Julius Cerialis. If you have no better



invitation, come on over,” wrote the poet Martial to a friend. He went on with tempting mention of lettuce and leeks to start with, followed by tuna garnished with eggs, then oysters, baked chicken, and sow’s udders. Eggs were the most common appetizers and fruit the most common dessert. With the exception of the udders, it is food we would still enjoy today. The Tunisians still garnish their fish with hard-boiled eggs, a culinary custom that so many European tourists find a little odd. ROMAN WINE Apart from plain wine (merum or vinum), the Romans used several wine preparations for cooking. Rather than reducing the wine after it had been added to the dish, as we do now, Roman cooks reduced the wine beforehand, separately. They used grape must, which is now only available for sale in commercial quantities for the making of wine, and a reduced wine made from dried grapes soaked in must, called passum. Mulsum, which was wine mixed with honey, was sometimes used in cooking, but was most often drunk as an accompaniment to the first course.



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Piscopo’s Cash and Carry Triq l-Erba’ Mwiezeb, St Paul’s Bay Tel: 2157 0375

Opening hours for December are as follows: Monday to Saturday: Sundays & Public Holidays: 8:00 am to 7:00 pm 8:00 am - 12:00 pm

Email: sales@piscopo.com.mt


In Veronese’s Wedding in Cana, guests drink their wine from shared glasses which are refilled on the floor (foreground).

A GLASS IN TIME Very little is known about drinking glasses in the medieval period, most having been lost in time because of the material’s fragility. They largely survive in paintings, which tell us how glass was used in a contemporary context. In Veronese’s Wedding in Cana, the biblical event is shown as a contemporary Italian courtly scene, where the guests drink the red wine from shared, shallow glasses with a tall stem. In the foreground, the wine is poured from an urn on the floor. A bowing servant holds out the filled glass to a courtier who sits back and reaches out for it with his hand, inviting to servant to move closer. Few glasses are set on the table. In the middle, a frowning guest holds one of the glasses by its stem, turning away from the woman to his left, possibly in anger. Glass was the preserve of the wealthy, but it was not usual for guests to be offered a drinking vessel all for themselves. The material was rare and precious, but fragile, and though glasses from Murano made their way into the grand houses of Europe, guests were accustomed to drinking from the same vessel, even during a significant event. Sipping wine delicately from a shallow glass and passing it around without spilling its contents would have required a great deal of practice for the guests, whose elegant manner in the painting displays “sprezzatura”, the art of appearing effortless.







Opening hours throughout the festive season Vini e Capricci shopping hours: 9AM - 7PM | Vinoteca: 11:30AM - 3PM | 6:30PM - 10:30PM Vinoteca opens on Monday evenings from 2nd December 2019 to 6th January 2020. Shop and Vinoteca open on 24th and 31st December. Open all Sundays and Public Holidays. Closed on the 25th December 2019 and 1st January 2020.

Gozitano Agricultural Village, Mgarr Road, Xewkija, Gozo | T: (+356) 2156 3231 | E: viniecapricci@abrahams.com.mt WWW.VINIECAPRICCI.COM


In the Orange Orchard

Claire Borg celebrates December’s gift of juicy oranges with a collection of cakes and biscotti Food and photography: Claire Borg




“Come, delight in the orange you have gathered: it brings happiness with its presence. Let us welcome these rosy cheeks from off the boughs: let us give welcome to stars plucked from the trees. It seems that the heavens have poured forth pure gold which the earth has fashioned into shining orbs.” Abu al Hasan Ali ibn al-Basayr the Sicilian, 11th century


opular myth has it that it was the Arabs who introduced the orange to Europe, but it is a little bit more complicated than that. It was the Portuguese, and not the Arabs, who were responsible for introducing from China to Europe the trees from which most of today’s superior sweet orange varieties have originated. These relatively few trees launched the entire worldwide citrus industry of today. Even the vast orange plantations of Florida have their origins in those trees brought over to Europe by the Portuguese. This is the reason why, in many Mediterranean languages, the word for ‘orange’ denotes a Portuguese origin for the fruit. The Arabic word is bortugan. The Maltese word laring comes from the Portuguese laranja, and our name for this fruit was originally laring tal-Portugall. As the sweet orange over-ran the bitter orange in terms of quantity and popularity, there was no longer the need for this differentiation between laring tal-Portugall and the bitter orange, and so the tal-Portugall was dropped. The same thing must have happened with the Arabic word; it is unlikely that bortugan would have been the complete original name. In this case, the opposite must have happened, and they dropped the word which originally denoted the actual fruit, and kept just the name that denoted the place of origin. Other languages use the ‘n’ sound at the beginning of the word, and not the ‘l’ of the Maltese and Portuguese words, or drop it completely. It is the fruit that gave its name to the colour, and not the other way round. All these words – orange, naranja, laranja, laring, arancia – come from the original Sanskrit for ‘orange tree’ – naranga. Interestingly, our name for Seville oranges – laring tal-bakkaljaw - also indicates Spain as a point of origin. Daphne Caruana Galizia, published in one of the early issues of Taste ISSUE 125 DECEMBER 2019



Jaffa Cake Cupcakes

Preparation: 10 minutes Cooking: 20 minutes Makes 12 YOU WILL NEED:

200g plain flour 200g sugar 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 tablespoons grated orange zest 2 eggs 150ml sunflower oil 50g plain yoghurt 100ml milk 12 chunks of dark chocolate 12 mini Jaffa Cakes whipped cream

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C if it is fan-

operated) and line a cupcake tin with paper cases. 2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large

bowl. Add the sugar and zest and mix well. 3. In another bowl, mix the yoghurt, milk, eggs and oil. Pour

the wet mix into the dry mix and fold until well combined. 4. Pour the batter into the lined cupcake tin and

press a chunk of chocolate into each cupcake. 5. Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until

done. Check by inserting a skewer or cocktail stick. Remove the cupcakes from the tin and leave them to cool on a wire rack. 6. Just before serving, pipe some whipped cream on

each cupcake, and decorate with a mini-Jaffa cake.



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Chocolate Orange Cake




Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking: 30 minutes Makes 2 layers YOU WILL NEED:

180g flour • 120g cocoa powder 00g sugar • eggs teaspoons aking powder ta lespoons orange est 100g reek yoghurt • 125ml milk 2 ta lespoons apple cider vinegar 100ml melted utter 100ml sunflower oil 2 ta lespoons rand arnier 1 ig ar o chocolate spread

1. You will also need two 8” cake

tins. Grease them with butter and sprinkle them with flour mixed with cocoa. Set the oven to 180°C (160°C, if fan-operated). 2. Pour the vinegar onto the milk

and set it aside without stirring. Let it stand for 5 minutes. 3. Add all the wet ingredients to the

milk and beat them well together. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder into a large bowl, then add the sugar and zest and mix. Pour in the wet mix and fold together until well combined. 4. Divide the cake mix equally between

the tins and bake in a hot oven for 25-35 minutes. Check whether the cake is done before you remove it from the oven. Let it cool in its tin for the first 15 minutes, then transfer it onto a wire rack to let it cool completely. 5. Cover the top of one cake with

chocolate spread and place the second cake layer on top. Using a palette, coat the top and sides of the cake with chocolate spread. Serve this decorated with fresh orange wedges.




Boiled Raisin Cake

Preparation: 60 minutes Cooking: 35-40 minutes


250g self-raising flour 250g sugar 4 eggs 200g butter 80ml milk a few drops of vanilla ½ teaspoon grated orange zest 300g raisins juice of 4 small oranges (or two large ones)



1. Prepare two 6” bundt

3. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Add the

cake tins (or 1 large one) by buttering and flouring them and set the oven to 180°C (160°C, if fan-operated).

sugar and the chunks of butter and rub it in until it all resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the remaining ingredients, together with the juicy raisins. Mix well.

2. Put the orange juice and

4. Transfer the batter into the buttered

raisins into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and let the pan simmer until the juices nearly evaporate, leaving you with plump raisins and a very small amount of liquid. Set aside and cool.

and floured bundt tins and bake in a hot oven for about 25 minutes or until done. If you’re using one large tin, you will need to let the cake cook for a bit longer. Check whether it’s done before removing it from the oven. Let the cake cool for 20 minutes in the tin before you remove it and transfer it to a wire rack to cool down completely.


Orange and Christmas Spice Biscotti

Preparation: 25 minutes Cooking: 60 minutes Makes several pieces YOU WILL NEED:

240g flour 1½ teaspoons baking powder 150g sugar 120g unsalted butter, at room temperature ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest 2 teaspoon orange zest ¼ teaspoon salt 2 eggs 100g almonds, chopped 80g pumpkin seeds, chopped 1 teaspoon aniseed ¼ teaspoon all spice ¼ teaspoon cinnamon ¼ teaspoon ground ginger ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom 1 pinch nutmeg 1 pinch ground cloves

1. Line a baking tray with

non-stick paper and preheat the oven to 170°C. 2. Put the butter, sugar,

lemon and orange zest and salt into a bowl and beat well, then beat in the eggs one at a time. 3. Sift in the flour, spices,

and baking powder and mix well together. Add the nuts and seeds and stir the mixture together until it forms a dough. Divide the dough into 3 equal amounts, shape them into logs, lightly flatten them, then place them on the lined baking tray. 4. Bake in a hot oven for 30-

40 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove the baking tray from the oven and let it cool for about 30 minutes. Cut the log diagonally using a sharp knife. 5. Arrange the biscotti

on the lined baking tray. Turn the oven heat down to 150°C and bake the biscotti until they are golden. This will take 10-15 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack. 62



Chocolate Orange Marble Cake




Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking: 40/45 minutes

zest and sugar. Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and fold them together until well combined. Set aside.


100g plain flour • 100g sugar 1 teaspoon aking powder 1 ta lespoon grated orange est 1 egg • 5 g melted utter • 5ml milk 2 ta lespoons orange uice

4. To make the chocolate mix, first


powder into a large bowl, then mix in the zest and sugar. Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and fold together until well combined. Set aside.

125g plain flour • 5g cocoa powder 200g sugar • 2 teaspoons aking powder 2 ta lespoons grated orange est 2 eggs • 150g melted utter 5g plain yoghurt • 0ml milk 1 ta lespoon apple cider vinegar

pour the vinegar onto the milk without stirring. Let it stand for 5 minutes then add all the wet ingredients and mix well. 5. Sift the flour, cocoa, and baking

6. Pour the batters into the cake tin,

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C, if

alternating between the white mix and the chocolate mix. Gently swirl the top of the batter with a fork.

fan-operated). Rub an 11” baking tin with butter and dust it with flour.

7. Bake the cake in the preheated oven

2. To make the white mix, first pour

the orange juice onto the milk without stirring. Let it stand for 5 minutes then add all the wet ingredients and mix well. 3. Sift the flour and baking powder

into a large bowl, then mix in the

for 40-45 minutes or until done. Be sure to test the cake for doneness before removing it from the oven because it will sag if it is undercooked. 8. Let the cake cool for 20 minutes

in its tin, then remove it and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

“The fruit of Malta is extremely good, especially the citrus fruits… which are sent to Rome and to the French court…they are highly prized throughout and held much dear.” Commendatore Giovanni Francesco Abela, Della Descrizione die Malta (1647)

“The Maltese oranges certainly deserve the character they have of being the finest in the world.” Patrick Brydone, English traveller in Malta and Sicily, 1773

“The greatest attention is paid to the orange trees, which are commonly watered twice a day. Their tops are trimmed into a round form resembling an umbrella, and they grown on one single straight stem, as do likewise the lemon trees, the branches of which are sometimes suffered to extend till they form a kind of bower.” Louis de Boisgelin, anecdotist (1804)




Whole Orange Cake with Oats Preparation: 60 minutes Cooking: 35-40 minutes YOU WILL NEED:

250g plain flour 80g oats (and some extra for lining the tin) 250g golden castor sugar 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder 2 eggs 150g sunflower oil 100ml milk 1 large orange, washed and unpeeled

1. Preheat the oven to 180C

(160C, if fan-operated). Line a 1.5 litre bundt tin with butter and oats. 2. Slice the orange (with its

skin) into small pieces and remove any pips. Place it in a small saucepan together with a glass of water and bring it to the boil. Drain the pan, then repeat the process for three times in total. Finally, drain the pan and let the cooked orange cool down. 3. Place the orange, eggs,

oil and milk in a jug and blend until smooth. 4. Sift the flour and baking

powder into a large bowl, add the oats and sugar and mix. Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and fold them together until well combined. 5. Transfer the batter to the

bundt tin and bake in a hot oven for about 35-40 minutes or until it’s done. Let it cool for 20 minutes in its tin, then turn it out onto a wire rack to cook completely.



Treat Yourself to a Luxurious

Festive Season

Urban Valley Resort & Spa Triq Wied Ghollieqa, Kappara SGN 4437, Malta T: +356 2138 5926 E: info@urbanvalleyresort.com www.urbanvalleyresort.com





Christmas P A hot drink and homemade biscuits warm up the dullest days. Bake up batches of these beautiful biscuits and wrap them in a gorgeous presentation box as a seasonal gift.

Sweets: Mandy Mallia Props: Taste&Flair Styling and photography: Megan Mallia

assisted by Helene Asciak




Cranberry crisp These are made in the same way as Garibaldi, but cooked a little bit longer so that the pastry crisps all the way through.


50g butter, unsalted and diced 220g plain flour ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon baking powder 50g caster sugar plus granulated sugar to finish 1 egg 100g dried cranberries, finely chopped 4 tablespoons milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line

4. Turn the dough out onto a floured

a baking tray with non-stick paper.

surface and roll it out thinly into a rectangular shape. Scatter the chopped cranberries over half the surface. Fold the other half over and smooth it down with your hands.

2. Sift the flour into a large bowl,

add the baking powder and salt and stir them together. Add the diced butter and rub it into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs. 3. Add the sugar and stir it in. Add

the milk, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a dough. It should be pliable but firm and not sticky.

5. Roll the filled dough out until it is

very thin and the fruit pokes through the surface. Use a sharp knife to cut it into small rectangles and transfer the pieces to the lined baking tray. 6. Brush the pastry surface with

a little beaten egg and sprinkle it with granulated sugar. 7. Bake in the preheated oven for

about 20 minutes. The pastry should turn a deep golden brown. 8. Let the biscuits cool in the tray for

a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.




i Adding spices to tea gives it a seasonal twist. Experiment with di erent types of spice to create your own particular brew.

Brewing: 4 minutes Makes one large potful




3 teaspoons of light tea, like Darjeeling 2 teaspoons of cocoa nibs 2 pieces star anise 3 small sticks of cinnamon 3 cloves orange zest SWEETENER:

dark honey (optional)

1. Pour about on inch of the freshly

boiled water into a teapot to warm it. 2. Mix the spices and zest together

with the tea and add them to the drained, warmed teapot. Pour on freshly boiled water, stir well, and allow the pot to stand for 4 minutes. 3. Serve this without milk, and

with dark honey as a sweetener.



115g butter, unsalted 200g caster sugar 1 egg 100g macadamia nuts 100g white chocolate chips 50g pink peppercorns 100g self-raising flour 100g plain flour COATING:

200g white chocolate

1. Set the oven to 180°C and line a

baking tray with non-stick paper. 2. Cream the sugar and butter

until light and fluffy (this is easier if you let the butter reach room temperature first). Add the egg and beat it well. 3. Stir in the nuts, white chocolate

chips and pink peppercorns. Sift in the flour and stir it in until well combined. 4. Using a teaspoon, scoop up

dollops of the batter and drop it into the lined baking tray. Leave at least an inch between each biscuit. 5. Bake in the pre-heated oven

until the dough turns pale gold. Remove the tray from the oven and let the biscuits cool slightly. Next, transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely. 6. Break the white chocolate into

i i

pieces into a heat-proof bowl and put it in a microwave oven on a medium setting for about a minute. Stir the chocolate. If it isn’t smooth, return it to the oven and continue to heat it in 10-second bursts until it’s completely smooth. Alternatively, set the bowl over a pan of boiling water, stirring the chocolate to make sure it doesn’t burn.


7. Drop the cooled biscuits into


Whole pink peppercorns add crunch and spice to the waxy macadamia nuts and smooth white chocolate. These taste good with strong black co ee.

Makes about 20 • Preparation: 15 minutes • Baking: 10 minutes



the molten chocolate, one at a time, and use a small spoon to scoop the chocolate over the biscuit until it is well coated. Use a palette to lift the coated biscuit onto a wire rack set over a dish to catch the drips. Coat half the biscuits in this way and leave the other half uncoated. Allow the chocolate to set overnight.

Divine Ref. Code: 25533

The Gift of Good Taste Make use of our free packaging and hamper delivery services in Malta & Overseas Savina Creations Limited, The Magro Food Village, Xewkija XWK3000, Gozo - Malta Tel: +356 2156 2236 • Mob: +356 7956 2236 savina creations • www.savina.com.mt


i We will never have a white Christmas in Malta, but these “snowcapped” biscuits are a tempting enough substitute, with the pecans making them taste all the more special.

Preparation/cooking time: 30 minutes, excluding chilling time Makes 12-15


135g plain flour ¼ teaspoon salt 45g cocoa powder 1 teaspoon baking powder 150g granulated sugar 100g pecan nuts, chopped 1/3 cup olive oil 2 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 100g icing sugar for coating

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line

a baking tray with non-stick paper. 2. Sift the flour, cocoa, baking

5. Chill the mixture for 3-4 hours

or overnight. It will remain a little sticky, but that’s the right texture. 6. Sift the icing sugar into a small bowl. 7. Prepare the biscuits by putting one

tablespoon of mixture at a time into your hands and rolling it into a ball. Next, roll the ball in the icing sugar until well coated all over. The mixture will be rather sticky, but will firm up once coated with the icing sugar. 8. Press the biscuits down very,

powder and salt together. Add the chopped pecans. Mix well.

very slightly onto the lined baking tray, allowing a little room for them to spread while baking.

3. In a separate bowl, mix the granulated

9. Bake on the top shelf of the oven for

sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla together. 4. Gradually add the dry ingredients

to the wet mixture and stir in well.

9-10 minutes until the biscuits puff up and crack. Next, remove from the oven and allow to cool. The inside may look a little wet, but that is fine, because the biscuits firm up as they cool down.






Rose petal shortbread Light, crumbly, melt-in-themouth and sweetly scented with edible rose and rosewater. Try these with an infusion of green tea with rose petals.


100g butter, unsalted 100g plain flour 50g golden caster sugar 50g ground almonds 20g edible rose petals 1 tablespoon rosewater TO GARNISH:

Dried rose buds Crushed rose petals

1. Set the oven to 180°C and line a

baking tray with non-stick paper. 2. Cream the sugar with the butter

and rosewater, then sift in the flour and add the ground almonds and rose petals and fold everything together till it forms a dough. 3. Use a teaspoon to scoop up some

dough. Use the flat of your hands to roll it into a ball and flatten it slightly into a thick disc. Place it on the lined baking tray. Repeat with the rest of the dough, leaving about an inch of space between each biscuit. 4. Bake in the pre-heated oven

for 15 minutes until the biscuits start to turn golden. Remove them from the oven and let them cool slightly before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. 5. Serve sprinkled with rose

petals and dried rose buds.


Dark i i




4. Add half of the flour/spice mixture

100g plain flour 15g (2 level tablespoons) cocoa powder ½ teaspoon baking powder 50g caster sugar 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional) 2 level teaspoons ground cinnamon 2 level teaspoons ground ginger 75g dark chocolate chips 60g butter 1 tablespoon golden syrup zest of one orange

to the creamed butter mixture and mix well until a loose dough is formed. Add the rest of the flour/ spice mixture a little at a time until the mixture forms into a dough. Knead it well and chill it for 15 minutes. 5. Roll the dough out onto a

sheet of greaseproof paper or onto a lightly floured surface until it is about 4mm thick.

These lightly spiced, aromatic bittersweet biscuits are delicious, yet easy to make, while the lovely Christmassy scent they give o when being cooked invokes fond memories of many a happy Christmas past.

1. Line a baking tray with non-stick

6. Use a biscuit cutter to cut the dough

paper and preheat the oven to 165°C.

into shapes. We used a 5.5cm round one and the yield was some15 biscuits.

Preparation / cooking time: 30 minutes Makes 12-15


2. Sift the flour, baking powder,

cocoa, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger together, and mix well.

7. Bake the biscuits on the top shelf of the

3. Cream the butter and sugar

8. Remove the tray from the oven,

together in a separate bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the golden syrup, then add the orange zest and chocolate chips and mix well.

and allow the biscuits to cool for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. They will firm up once completely cool.

preheated oven for around 15 minutes.


Fig and barberry “Garibaldi” One either likes or loathes Garibaldi biscuits. I fall into the former category, not least because they remind me of somebody very dear. This recipe replaces the traditional currants with chopped dried figs and barberries for a Christmassy feel. You could also use dried dates instead.

Preparation / cooking time: 30/40 minutes • Makes about 12 biscuits


110g self-raising flour a pinch of salt 25g unsalted butter at room temperature 25g golden caster sugar (or use a 50/50 mix of fine light brown and caster sugar) 2 tablespoons milk 25g dried figs, finely chopped 25g barberries, finely 1 egg white, lightly beaten, to brush onto the biscuits a little bit of granulated sugar, to finish

1. Preheat your oven to 180°C and line

6. Roll out the filled dough until

a baking tray with non-stick paper

the pastry is very thin and the fruit shows through.

2. Mix the flour, salt and butter together

in a bowl until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then mix the sugar in well. 3. Add the milk a little at a time, and stir

the mixture until a dough is formed. If the dough is too dry, add a little extra milk to make it more pliable. 4. Roll out the dough into a rectangular



7. Trim the edges of the dough and

cut it into rectangles. Use a pastry palette to ease off the biscuits and transfer them to the lined baking tray. 8. Brush the top of each biscuit

with lightly-beaten egg white and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

shape. It should be very thin.

9. Put the baking tray in the middle

5. Sprinkle the barberries and the chopped

of the pre-heated oven, and bake for 12-15 minutes until slightly golden.

figs over one half of the pastry and fold the other half over to form a “sandwich”. Press the pastry down lightly with the flat of your hands to seal it properly.

10. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool slightly before transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely.





Pizzicotti No Maltese family Christmas teatime spread is complete without almond biscuits in some form. This pizzicotti recipe by family friend Louiselle Vassallo is easy to follow, and is a perfect pick-me-up for when you just want to treat yourself or a friend to something special. “Pizzicotti” means “pinches”, hence the name of these traditional almond biscuits.

Preparation: 30 minutes, excluding chilling time Makes about 35


300g pure ground almonds 250g caster sugar zest of one lemon 2 egg whites 100g icing sugar

1. Preheat the oven to

180°C and line a baking tray with non-stick paper. 2. Mix the almonds, caster

sugar and lemon zest together in a bowl. Add the egg whites to the mixture, and knead well until a dough is formed. 3. Flatten the dough into a thick

disc, wrap it in clingfilm, then chill it for 2-3 hours or overnight. 4. Take the chilled dough out

of the fridge, and put the icing sugar into a bowl. Cut the dough into chunks weighing approximately15gr each, and roll them into balls. 5. Coat the balls well with icing

sugar by rolling them in the bowl, then place them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. There is no need to leave much space between them, because they only increase slightly in size on baking. 6. When all the biscuits have

been placed on the baking tray, pinch each one gently while pressing down lightly. 7. Place the baking tray on the

middle shelf of the oven, and bake for 10-12 minutes until only very slightly golden. If not yet slightly golden by the 10th minute, make sure to check the biscuits every minute until they are done, because they burn easily. 8. Allow the biscuits to cool for

at least 15 minutes in the tray before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. They are quite fragile until they form a hard crust on cooling.



the perfect

Festive Cheeseboard 100% FRESH MALTESE PRODUCTS




Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina



A sophisticated half-day dining experience

The new bottomless brunch at The Phoenicia


tart your weekend with a bottomless brunch at Phoenix, the elegant dining room with a relaxing space designed by the Grande Dame of interior design, Mary Fox Linton. Cool blues, refined white fretwork, high ceilings and radiant light combine with tasteful fabrics and chandeliers in a haven for starting the weekend on the right note. The restaurant has a unique retro feel, with large floral arrangements on the woodpanelled bar filled with most of the brunch goodies. In fine weather, diners sit out on the Terrace enjoying a commanding view of The Phoenicia’s 7.5 acres of rolling gardens with views all the way to Marsamxett Harbour. This is a vantage point that enhances al fresco dining and adds to the allure of the Phoenix itself. With an extensive new brunch menu masterminded by Executive Chef Daniel Debattista, every Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 to 15:00 a bottomless brunch is served with style. The eclectic menu includes charcuterie, homemade smoked salmon, fresh prawns, salads, soup, fresh fruit and baked goods, featuring breads, savoury croissants, cheese scones and bagels as the warm-up to the à la carte main dishes that include a delicious roast freshly carved at the table with razor-sharp silver service. The brunch service is rounded out with a live crepe station that lends itself to a selection of sweet fillings, including a heavenly chocolate fountain. If you have room for more, other desserts such as the Chocolate and Peanut Parfait with warm chocolate sauce or the Blueberry Cheesecake are available too. Chic and elegant, all this fabulous food is accompanied by bottomless Prosecco, Bellinis and Mimosas. The Phoenicia’s bottomless brunch is about sharing and indulging in a unique setting. With free-flowing drink and a menu with a twist, The Phoenicia’s flagship eatery is well worth a visit any weekend.




German Heidesand Cookies with Rosemary and Lemon A fresh take on an old tradition: buttery, crumbly, marzipan shortbread, dressed with lemon zest and rosemary. Recipe and Photo: Meike Peters




Let ecember s cookie craziness begin and fill the ars with a German Christmas classic. Heidesand is a crumbly shortbread cookie refined with marzipan. deviate from tradition and add lemon zest and rosemary. t s a perfect recipe for the lazy baker as there are no cookie cutters or decorating involved you simply slice rounds of dough bake and en oy.

Baking: 10 minutes per sheet • Makes about 60 cookies


200g unsalted butter, at room temperature 45g high-quality marzipan, at room temperature 125g granulated sugar, plus 50g for the topping 1¼ tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary needles, plus ½ teaspoon for the topping 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest, plus 2 teaspoons for the topping ½ teaspoon fine sea salt 260g all-purpose flour

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C

(preferably convection setting). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Combine 50g of sugar, 2 teaspoons

of lemon zest, and ½ teaspoon of rosemary and spread on a cutting board. Remove the plastic wrap from the logs of dough and roll them in the lemonrosemary sugar until evenly coated. 5. Cut the rolls into 0.5-cm-thick

slices and transfer to the lined baking sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, for 8 to 9 minutes (slightly longer if using a conventional oven) or until golden. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store the cookies in airtight containers for up to 1 week.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer

fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, marzipan, 125g of sugar, 1¼ tablespoons of rosemary, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest, and the salt until smooth. Add the flour and quickly mix until combined. 3. Divide the dough in half, transfer

each portion to a piece of plastic wrap, and roll into a 4-cm-thick log. Wrap the logs in the plastic wrap and freeze for 15 minutes or until firm enough to cut with a knife.

This recipe is from Meike Peters’ latest book, 365: A Year of Everyday Cooking and Baking, (Prestel)








Candlelight mulled wine and a sm rg sbord of avour are the perfect antidote to long, cold dark nights. Susanna Diacono and Michael Diacono, chef patron, Giuseppi’s Bar and Bistro Wine recommendation: Andrew Azzopardi Photography: Brian Grech




"In Sweden, where I grew up, Christmas is a cosy time of the year with lots of candlelight and the air infused with the aroma of spiced mulled wine." It all builds up from the feast of St. Lucia, on the 13th December, when we celebrate light in the darkest days of the year. Thinking about this brings back childhood memories from my early school days. As girls, we were dressed in flowing white gowns, wearing a crown of glowing candles in our hair, solemnly proceeding through dimmed corridors of old peoples’ homes singing “Sankta Lucia”. There really was a special atmosphere when the lights in the room were dimmed and the sound of the children singing grew as we entered from an adjacent room. When we gave out gingerbread snaps and saffron buns, the faces of residents would light up and it never failed to produce smiles of true joy. The culmination of the festive season is dinner on Christmas Eve. Swedish Christmas has its roots in our agricultural traditions, and the festive dinner is traditionally based on local produce. As Sweden is a large, long country, traditions varied from north to south but as the country got wealthier, these differences disappeared and the meal became more elaborate. The Christmas meal is served as a smörgåsbord, that is, buffet style with multiple hot and cold dishes of various foods served all at the same time. Two requisites of Swedish Christmas food are lutfisk and rice pudding. Lutfisk is sundried, lime-cured ling normally served with white sauce, melted butter, mustard, green peas and potatoes. This custom dates back at least four centuries to Catholic Sweden when Christmas was celebrated as a fast rather than as a sumptuous feast. The rice porridge is sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon with a pat of butter melting into a sunburst on top, hiding a single blanched almond, which brings good fortune to the finder. The Christmas ham, which is boiled and then baked with a delicate crust of breadcrumbs, must be a big one as it is an important piece that will yield many betweenmeal snacks. It is usually served with a tart mustard-apple sauce and braised red cabbage. Other Christmas specialties are grilled or boiled sausages, roast ribs, meatballs, liver paté, beetroot salad, gravad lax and, inevitably, different pickled herrings and herring salads. All this is washed down with warm aromatic wine, glögg, adding to the festive atmosphere.

God Jul! Susanna





Andrew’s recommended wines Choosing the right wines to serve along a Christmas spread and the traditional glögg (mulled wine) is quite challenging, especially when considering that we do not change our wine with each dish. I think high acid, refreshing wines would work best here and have chosen wines that can match all the wonderful and di erent avours in the spread. Red: Beaujolais Cru Owing to its high acid, low tannin and juicy, fruity and floral flavours, it can stand up to the sweet spices without overpowering any of the dishes. White: German Riesling Kabinett (dry) has aromatic flavours of peach, pineapple, honeycomb and jasmine but with a searing acidity that will keep the wine refreshing and light. Sparkling: Champagne Blancs de Blanc would be my absolute favourite. The creamy Chardonnay would easily match the power of the salmon and the ham, yet high acidity would lift the flavours of the dishes. The bubbles act as the perfect palate-cleanser when transitioning between the dishes. Wild card: German Spätlese (semi-sweet) A sweet wine is needed to finish off the meal in style. A German Auslese has enough sweetness and acidity, without being overly sweet, to work well with both sweet and savoury. It would be wonderful with the gingerbread tartlets and saffron buns, but can also be an interesting combination with the saltiness of the Christmas ham.



Örtgravad lax Gravad Salmon with herbs

Preparation 45 minutes Marination 2 days Serves 8-10 as a main course


1.7kg salmon fillets with skin on 1 bunch of dill, chopped 1 bunch parsley, chopped 100ml sugar • 5ml salt 1 teaspoon paprika powder 1 tablespoon ground white pepper 1 tablespoon ground black pepper 1 tablespoon ground pink pepper ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 tablespoon dry tarragon 1 tablespoon dry basil 1 tablespoon dry borage if available

1. Pin bone the salmon fillet carefully

and mix all the herbs together in a dish. 2. Sprinkle ¼ of the herbs in the base

of a dish where the fillets will be marinating. Put one fillet in the dish, skin down, and sprinkle herbs over the flesh side leaving ¼ of the herbs for the top side of the other fillet. 3. Place the second fillet, flesh side down,

onto the bottom fillet and sprinkle the remaining herbs over the skin.


GravlaxsĂĽs Mustard gravlax sauce 4. Cover the dish with a lid or

cling film and leave it to stand in the fridge for 24 hours. 5. The following day, turn the

fillets over in the dish and carry on marinading for another 24 hours. When the fish is ready, scrape off the herbs and pour off any liquid. 6. Use a sharp knife to cut the

Preparation: 5 minutes Serves 10

1. Mix the vinegar, mustard, brown


2. Slowly add olive oil while

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar 100ml mild mustard 3 tablespoons brown sugar salt • white pepper 400ml olive oil 150ml dill, fresh or dry

whisking the mixture.

sugar, salt and pepper in a bowl.

3. Add the dill at the end and

leave the sauce to stand in the fridge for 24 hours before serving so that the flavours infuse.

cured fish into fine slices and serve it with a mustard sauce.




Skagen röra Prawn mix

Preparation: 5 minutes Serves 8 YOU WILL NEED

400g peeled cooked prawns 60ml crème fraiche 60ml mayonnaise 1 tablespoon brandy finely chopped dill 80g salmon roe lemon wedges salt and fresh white pepper

1. Mix crème fraiche with mayonnaise

in a bowl, then add the brandy, dill, white pepper and salt. 2. Add the prawns and mix, then

gently stir in the salmon roe. 3. Serve with rye crisp bread and lemon.

Rödbets salad Beetroot salad

Preparation: 15 minutes, excluding resting time Serves 6-10 YOU WILL NEED

600-800g pickled diced beetroots from a jar 1 small red onion, peeled and diced 120ml mayonnaise 120ml sour cream or crème fraiche 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix the beetroot and onions together. 2. In a separate bowl, mix the wet

ingredients, season to taste and then add to the beetroot and onions 3. Refrigerate covered for at

least 1 hour before serving.




Dragon griljerad skinka Christmas Ham

Preparation and cooking: 60 minutes Serves 8-10


2kg whole cooked ham 1 egg yolk 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 2 teaspoons tarragon 2 tablespoons sugar 50ml dry breadcrumbs to sprinkle over the ham

1. Preheat the oven to 225°C. Place the

ham on a rack over a baking dish. 2. Mash the egg yolk into the mustards,

add the tarragon and sugar. 3. Spread the mixture over the ham and

then sprinkle all over with breadcrumbs. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the crust turns golden.

Apple mustard YOU WILL NEED

50ml apple purĂŠe 2 tablespoons strong English mustard powder 1 teaspoon Calvados 50ml fresh cream 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar 1 teaspoon honey

Mix all the ingredients together and let the mixture stand for at least 30 minutes.



Exclusively imported by:






Kroppkakor Stuffed potato balls

Preparation and cooking: 120 minutes Serves 12 YOU WILL NEED

3kg potatoes, peeled 3 large eggs 700-900ml flour, depending on potatoes Salt FILLING

500g streaky bacon 3 onions, diced 1 teaspoon white pepper 1 teaspoon allspice a good handful of parsley, chopped 150g butter, melted

1. Boil the peeled potatoes in salted

water until soft. Then drain and mash them and leave them to cool. 2. Meanwhile fry the bacon to render

the fat and add the diced onions to the pan and mix them in. Next, add the pepper, allspice and parsley. 3. Add the lightly whisked eggs,

flour and salt to the potatoes and gently mix them in. 4. Shape the potato dough into 4

roulades and divide each into 8 segments. Take one piece of dough and shape it into a bowl in your hand, fill it with bacon, and shape the dough into a ball, pressing it gently to seal it. Repeat with the rest of the potato dough. 5. Bring a large pot of salted water

to the boil, lower it to a simmer and gently boil the potato balls till they float to the surface. 6. Before serving, gently fry the potato

balls in melted butter till golden. Place them into an oven dish and warm them gently in the oven for 15 minutes. 7. Serve these coated with melted butter.

We would traditionally serve them with a lingonberry preserve, but this could be substituted with cranberry sauce.




Lussekatter Saffron buns

Preparation time 105 minutes, including proving time Makes 32 buns


150g butter 500ml milk 150ml golden syrup 1 sachet instant dry yeast 1g saffron 2 teaspoons baking powder 900ml flour raisins egg wash

1. Set the oven

to 225°C 2. Melt the butter, add

the milk and heat it till it’s luke warm. Add the syrup and yeast. Remove from heat and keep in a warm place and leave till foamy. 3. Sift the baking

powder and flour over the mixture, add the saffron and gently knead the dough for a few minutes till it all comes together. 4. Place the dough in

a bowl, cover it with a cloth and leave it to prove in a warm place for 40 minutes.



5. Shape the

lussekatter into S-shapes and place a raisin into each knot. Transfer the dough buns to a lightly buttered baking sheet and leave them to rise again for 30 minutes 6. Brushing the

buns with beaten egg and bake them for 7-10 minutes. 7. Day-old buns can

be split, toasted, and served with butter.


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Tools for coffee shops, restaurants, professional chefs and enthusiastic home cooks


Ginger bread tartlets with blue cheese and figs poached in port wine modernized version of gingerbread

Preparation and cooking: 60 minutes Serves 8


50g butter 250g ginger snaps 1 egg 5 fresh figs 200ml red port wine 100ml brown sugar 50ml balsamic vinegar 300g soft blue cheese 200g cream cheese

1. Set oven to 200°C 2. Melt the butter.

Break up the gingerbread snaps in a food processor and add the melted butter and the egg. Process till a dough forms. 3. Press out the

dough into 8 greased cupcake tins. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10-12minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

4. Boil the port wine,

balsamic vinegar and sugar. Add the figs and reduce the heat. Simmer for 2 minutes. 5. Remove the figs

and carry on boiling the port wine mixture until it becomes syrup. Leave it to cool. 6. Mix the blue cheese

and cream cheese together Spread over the gingerbread bases. 7. When the syrup

is cool, place halved figs on the cream cheese and glaze with the syrup.



from Monday 2nd December



Mini Potato Gratins

Norwegian Smoked Salmon

With porcini mushrooms

With nori seaweed

400g/ Price 2.69€

100g/ Price 3.49€

€ 6.73/kg

€ 34.90/kg




Grana Padano PDO Riserva

Classic Panettone

Truffle Cake

Matured for 20 months

Made with barn eggs

Made with barn eggs

700g/ Price 12.99€

1kg/ Price 4.79€

750g/ Price 3.99€

€ 18.56/kg

€ 5.32/kg


Jamón Serrano Reserva Dried raw Spanish ham, matured for 12 months

6.5kg/ Price 59.00€ € 9.08/kg

Even though every effort has been made to ensure adequate supplies, this item may sell out quickly. Prices do not include decorative material.




Fine Wine with

Personality Ta’ Betta Wine Estates comprise 4 hectares of terraced land in an area known as the Contrada ta’ Brija in Girgenti limits of Siggiewi, situated some 200 metres above sea-level, nurturing around 15,000 vines and hundreds of olive, fig and carob trees apart from indigenous Maltese flora.

The winery is situated on the southern flank of the estate enjoying views of the vineyard with the medieval town of Mdina as a backdrop, the Grand Master’s summer residence to the northwest, the Inquisitor’s summer residence to the west and the Laferla Cross on the hill to the south-west. The choice of the winery’s name reflects the passion that drives Juanito and Astrid Camilleri, dedicating it to Bettina, their daughter born in the same



year their wine journey was taking its first wobbly steps. Ta’ Betta crafts a range of three wines. Jean Parisot 2017 is an oakfermented Chardonnay inspired by Fra’ Jean Parisot de Valette, a French nobleman and 49th Grand Master of the Order of Malta from 1557 to his death in 1568. The decision to include a white wine in the estates’ repertoire is the result of much debate and thought. It was unclear whether a notable white wine with ageing potential following the estates’ philosophy could be made in Malta’s hot climate. Today, the decision to plant some 2,500 vines of Chardonnay on the last tract of land available on the estate is one of the most rewarding and the

results have been surprisingly pleasing. Antonio Manoel 2017 is an opulent blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, honouring Antonio Manoel de Vilhena, a Portuguese nobleman who was the 66th Prince and Grand Master of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem from 1722 to his death in 1736. The wine typically conveys cassis, strawberry and other red forest-fruit both on the nose as well as on its palate, with undertones of chocolate and caramel. The complexity and intensity of this wine varies from year to year, depending on the extent to which the weather allows the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to ripen, given that they are the last to mature before Malta’s usual September storms.


“the decision to plant some 2,500 vines of Chardonnay on the last tract of land available on the estate is one of the most rewarding”

Philippe Villiers 2017, a robust 70-30 blend of Syrah with Cabernet Franc is dedicated to the French Grand Master Philippe Villiers de l’Isle Adam, a warrior-knight who took over Malta in 1530 after the loss of Rhodes to the Ottoman Empire. With vines planted in 2003 and yield restricted to circa 1.6kg per vine, this blend typically conveys forest-fruit on the nose with undertones of tobacco, and black and bell pepper. Much like the historic names they honour, each Ta’ Betta wine of distinction exudes its very own particular timbre, an expression of personality, temperament and charisma to last through time. tabetta.com



Buy now pay later MON - FRI 9AM - 8PM



A Fairytale

Christmas by

80, South Street, Valletta 2124 2938



360º Thirty years of distinctive publishing

A new era in Malta’s publishing scene began when Tony Aquilina of Miranda Publishers was in Turin visiting a photographic scanning house. There, before him, were photographs of panoramic views taken by a 360° camera. It inspired the creation of Malta 360°, published in 1989, the first publication in what became a landmark series of photographic Melitensia books. Celebrating 360° features photographs drawn from the 21 titles that make up the unique set, and is a remarkable successor to the landmark 2017 publication, The City of Valletta 360°. With Enrico Formica’s unparalleled photographs, every significant part of Malta’s heritage is here: prehistoric temples, fortresses built by the Order of St. John, and the island’ British garrison, as well as churches, cathedrals, and the faces of religious life. u

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TOP LEFT: O v e r look ing B allu ta B ay in S t J u lians, th e Ch u r ch of O u r L ad y of Mou nt Car me l is f lood lit as th e f ocal p oint of th e annu al ce le br ations of th e p atr on saint’ s f e ast d ay . S e e n f r om acr oss th e cr e e k w h e r e y ach ts line th e mar ina, th e f lood lit Ch u r ch of S t L aw r e nce sits abov e th e e d g e of th e V ittor iosa w ate r f r ont w h e r e cr ow d s g ath e r ce le br ating th e f e ast of th e p atr on saint. OVERLEAF: Th e Md ina d itch f or ming p ar t of th e city ’ s d e f e nce s w as r e h abilitate d in 2 0 1 2 to of f e r r e cr e ational sp ace and an or ang e g r ov e . A t nig h t, a ne w lig h ting sy ste m allow s acce ssibility and sh ow s th e bastions in th e ir f u ll g r and e u r . TOP RIGHT:




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V alle tta and th e G r and Maste r ’ s P alace be f or e th e city ’ s r e stor ation w as be g u n in e ar ne st and be f or e th e cap ital w as p e d e str ianiz e d .


A s Malta be came a me mbe r of th e E u r op e an U nion, th e bastion w alls of F or t S t A ng e lo in th e G r and

r e stor e d bu ild ing s and squ ar e s of V alle tta h ig h lig h t its statu s as an ou tstand ing U N E S CO W or ld H e r itag e site .

Here too are examples of Baroque architecture, panoramas of fastdisappearing countryside, and the harbours and sea that make the islands distinctive. The book includes many photographs which have never been published before. It is both a record and a comparison of the changes to the islands’ vistas that have taken place gradually over the last three decades, highlighting the key points of Maltese heritage through its remarkable photography. u

H ar bou r be came th e f lood lit ce ntr e of th e national sp e ctacle .


World Heritage Sites in Malta



The façade of the Mnajdra neolithic temples.

Elmo Insurance Ltd would like to wish their customers a joyful Christmas and a prosperous New Year Our offices will be open throughout the festive season. However we shall be closed on the following dates: 20 December from 12:15 / 24 December from 13:00 26 December all day / 31 December from 13:00

Elmo Insurance Ltd. Abate Rigord Street, Ta’ Xbiex, XBX 1111, Malta Tel: 2343 0000 | info@elmoinsurance.com | elmoinsurance.com |

Elmo Insurance Ltd

Elmo Insurance Limited (C-3500) is registered in Malta. Authorised to carry on general insurance business in terms of the Insurance Business Act (Chapter 403 of the Laws of Malta) and regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority of Notabile Road, Attard, BKR 3000, Malta.



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P anor ama of S lie ma, Manoe l I sland , th e

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The photography and preparation of the sites for all the books is organised and controlled by Eddie Aquilina, using extreme patience and persuasion. “In the early days it was difficult to organize taking a photograph,” he explains. “We do not use a digital camera as many do now.” Today when Eddie prepares a site weeks ahead of a photographic shoot he is welcomed as “Eddie tat-360”, a tribute to how these books themselves are now part of the heritage they celebrate.



Shop online for anything your heart desires from anywhere in the world, even if the seller doesn’t ship to Malta. www.maltapost.com/sendon



The Italian pleasure of fine coo ing


ating back all the way to 1901, the world of Lagostina evolved out of passion, ideas, and creative intuition, paying profound attention to detail, the selection of ever-more advanced materials, crafting a guarantee of exquisite performance and the highest possible standards of style and exclusivity. With Lagostina, every occasion is a unique opportunity to test yourself against traditions that are constantly renewed through the values of everyday life. Lagostina takes pride in its comprehensive contemporary range of kitchen and dining ware.




LAGOEASY’UP The Lagostina LAGOEASY’UP pressure cookers are the ultimate combination of Italian elegance, guaranteeing ease of use and uncompromising performance. Each of the pressure cookers features the patented LAGOEASY’UP® technology for easy opening and closing, adding pure elegance and style to any kitchen. Pressure cookers offer several advantages, especially the opportunity of cooking practically anything: appetisers, pasta, meat, seafood and even desserts. A pressure cooker cooks twice as fast as a traditional pot, meaning that energy is saved once the heat is turned down, the necessary pressure is achieved, and the cooking begins. Pressure cookers retain nutrients and the natural flavour of the food being cooked, while also preserving vitamins and minerals. Both the Novia and the Mia LAGOEASY’UP ranges can be used on different hobs, namely gas, electric, induction and the vitro ceramic radiant halogen type. They are made out of 18/10 stainless steel and are covered through an astounding 25-year guarantee on their stainless steel parts. Maestria Italy reinvents a patented technology for a new generation of removable handles that detach from your selection of pots and pans, allowing for perfect stacking and an optimised means of storage of utensils. Maestria’s detachable handle supports a weight of up to 10Kg, together with flawless freedom of movement. It can be fixed anywhere on the rim of the utensil, and eventually removed with a single turn of the hand. This is not to mention that each of the utensils in the range can be conveniently used on a hob, in the oven, in the refrigerator and yes, why not, at the table as well. Maestria’s range, encompassing the Lagoseal Plus Base, includes a 25-year guarantee on the stainless steel parts and a 10-year guarantee on the patented removable handle.

Evelia - 13-piece set Lagostina’sEvelia 13-piece set is ideal for those individuals who are starting to build up their cookware collection. The package includes all the utensils required to start off your first cooking experience. Evelia’s design includes an elegant riveted handle, handy for use at the table and in the kitchen, facilitating the pouring of liquids. It also features a glass lid with a vent that eliminates internal condensation, making it easier to see the food within the pot or pan while it cooks. Evelia, further enhanced through the Lagoseal Plus Base, is covered by a 10-year guarantee on the stainless steel parts. Preparation and serving Lagostina’s range does not stop at pots and pans. It also covers the preparation and serving part of your dining experience. The I Cucinieri range of over 60 steel utensils covers every requirement of a creative kitchen starting from mixing bowls with separate bases, allowing you the chance of tilting the bowl for easier mixing, to pastry utensils, peelers, food serving utensils and also the classic whistling kettle, in a sleek design that adds aesthetic value to your kitchen. Lagostina also offers a distinct selection of Flatware: 24-piece sets that cater for 6 persons. Small utensils are covered by a 2-year guarantee against material and manufacturing defects.

For your full Lagostina experience, visit Oxford House of Triq L-Imdina, Central Business District, Birkirkara. Open from Monday to Friday between 09:00hrs and 19:00hrs and on Saturday, from 09:00hrs until 13:00hrs. Follow Oxford House on Facebook or visit www.oxfordhouse.com.mt for more information.







Christmas Classics Daniel Debattista, Executive Chef, Phoenicia Hotel, prepared this traditional Christmas feast specially for Taste&Flair. Photography: Sean Mallia




Baked Pumpkin Soup with Cardamon This can be prepared a day ahead.

Preparation and cooking: 65 minutes • Serves 6


1 x 2.5Kg pumpkin (the thick round variety helps for serving) 100g shallots • 10g garlic 2g cardamom pods 1 star anise • 1 resh ay lea 100g unsalted utter 150mp fresh cream 1litre chicken stock ouillon

1. Bake the whole pumpkin

4. Wrap the spices and

at 170°C for 25 minutes. Then place it on a resting tray and let it cool down.

bay leaf in a small muslin bag, so they can easily be removed after cooking.

to simmer. Allow the mixture to cook for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and leave the soup to rest for 15 minutes.

2. Carve out the top of the

5. Peel and finely slice the

7. Remove the muslin bag

pumpkin to create a well big enough to serve and spoon out the soup.

garlic and shallots and sweat them down in some butter without allowing them to colour. Add the spices and infuse for further 2 minutes.

with the spices and bay leaf, add the remaining butter and blend the soup in a liquidiser until very smooth. Season with salt to taste.

6. Add the chopped, cooked

8. Serve garnished with watercress bunches, toasted pumpkin seeds for extra crunch and drizzle with pumpkin seed oil for a nutty seasoning.

3. Scoop out the orange TO GARNISH

watercress pumpkin seeds pumpkin seed oil

flesh, leaving a layer, and discard all the seeds. Roughly chop up the flesh and place it in a bowl.

pumpkin to the mix and stir them together. Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Add the cream and bring again





1 side of fresh salmon fillet 4.5Kg water 290g brown sugar 150g salt 6g coriander seeds 5g yellow mustard seeds 4g pink peppercorns 5g black peppercorns 2g fennel seeds ½g chilli flakes, dry 4 cloves 4 fresh Bay leaves FOR THE SPICE RUB

38g salt 38g brown sugar 35g black peppercorns, coarse ground 20g coriander seeds, coarse ground 5g juniper berries, ground 3g chilli flakes

1. Begin by marinading the

salmon in brine. You will need to do this two days ahead of serving time. 2. Dissolve the salt and

sugar in the water first, then add the rest of the spices. Chill the brine to 3°C. 3. Place the salmon in the

brine solution and leave it for 36 hours, turning it over from time to time to ensure all sides are equally brined. 4. Remove the salmon from

the brine and pat it dry. 5. Now, prepare the

spice rub by combining all the ingredients and sprinkling generously over the brined salmon. 6. Transfer the salmon to a

smoker or to an oven set to 63°C for 50 minutes or the core temperature reaches 58°C. Then turn the heat up to 200°C and cook the salmon for another 8 minutes. 7. Remove the salmon from the oven, let it cool at room temperature for 1 hour, and then refrigerate until needed.



Salmon Pastrami with Celeriac Choucroute & Dill Mayonnaise Prepare this two days ahead of serving.

Serves 8-12


Celeriac Choucroute You can prepare this a day ahead of serving.

Preparation: 40 minutes YOU WILL NEED

500g celeriac, cut into 2mm julienne 50ml olive oil • 150 ml white wine vinegar 1 pinch salt • 12 uniper erries crushed 50ml gin • 1 resh ay lea

1. In a large, hot pan, sauté the celeriac

briefly (about 30 seconds) in olive oil without allowing it to colour. 2. Add the vinegar and reduce the

liquid by two-thirds. Turn the heat to low, add the salt, pepper, gin, juniper berries and Bay leaf and cook for a further 5 minutes. 3. When the choucroute is soft

but still has a little crunch, turn it out into a clean bowl and cool it down. Preserve it in jars.

Dill Mayonnaise This can be made a day in advance.

Preparation: 30 minutes YOU WILL NEED

500ml dill her oil • 4 egg yolks 1 ta lespoon i on mustard 2 ta lespoons cider vinegar 1 pinch ne ta le salt • 20g chopped dill DILL HERB OIL

200g resh dill 500ml sunflower seed oil

1. To make the dill oil, blanch the dill in

boiling water for 5 seconds and refresh it in ice cold water. Squeeze out all the water and place the dill in a liquidiser. Add the oil and blitz for 5 minutes until the oil turns green. Add pinch of salt. 2. Run the oil through a fine

sieve into a bowl and put it in the fridge to cool down. 3. Put the egg yolks, vinegar and mustard

into a bowl and mix them well together. 4. In a steady stream, while

continuously whisking, add the herb oil until an emulsion is formed. 5. Fold in the chopped dill and serve.




Whole Roasted Pheasant with Sage & Bacon This can be prepared a day ahead and warmed up just before serving.

Preparation: 30 minutes Serves 2-4

1 oven-ready whole pheasant 15 rashers smoked bacon 1 sage leaves • garlic • thyme

Parsnips, Brussel Sprouts & Spinach

Potatoes roasted in duck fat

1. Place a halved garlic bulb and a bunch

Preparation: 30 minutes • Serves 4

Preparation: 30 minutes • Serves 4


of thyme into the cavity of the bird. 2. Fill a pot with enough water to

immerse the bird and bring it to the boil. 3. Once the water is boiling, blanch

the bird for 5 minutes and place it on a tray to cool naturally. 4. When the pheasant has cooled, wrap

it in strips of bacon and sage alternating them to create a pleasing visual effect and cover the whole bird crown. 5. Roast whole at 200°C for 10 minutes.

Reduce the heat to 160°C and roast for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Remove the legs from the carcass and cook them for a further 10 minutes. 6. Carve the bird crown meat

and serve at once.



400g parsnips • 50g russel sprouts 600g resh spinach leaves 100g utter unsalted garlic • thyme • nutmeg

500g roasting potatoes • 100ml duck at thyme • garlic • sea salt

Parsnips Peel the parsnips and roast them whole with butter, garlic and thyme, starting in a pan and finishing them in a hot oven at 180°C for 6 minutes.

2. Simmer gently in salted water until

Brussel sprouts With a small paring knife, make a cross at the bottom of the sprouts (this will help them to cook evenly) and boil them in salted water for 5 minutes. Cool down. Reheat in some butter with thyme. Spinach Pick the spinach and rinse in plenty of water. Drain and dry. Cook the leaves in butter with some crushed garlic and season with nutmeg.

1. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 4x4cm cubes.

slightly firm, strain through a colander and let the potatoes steam to dry. 3. Put the duck fat in an oven-proof dish and

place in a hot oven at 200°C for 15 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and add the potatoes with some garlic and thyme. Return to the hot oven and roast for 20 minutes. TO SERVE

1. Serve the pheasant whole and carve it at the table,

serving some breast and leg meat in each portion. 2. Present the vegetables on a dish alongside

the roasted potatoes in the middle of the table so that everyone can help themselves. 3. Serve with quince jelly and gravy on the side.



Let’s eat clean A cleaner, healthier diet. Good for you, good for the planet. ®




Glazed Ham Hock with Honey & Spice Preparation 90 minutes Serves 4





2 smoked ham hock (from the front hocks) 200 ml honey 200ml orange juice rind of 1 orange 25g butter 1g cloves 1 piece star anise 1 cinnamon quill 1g coriander seeds ½g fresh grated nutmeg

1. Place the hocks in a pot and cover

with cold water, bring it gently to a boil and let it simmer for 10 minutes. 2. Heat the oven to 180°C. Take the ham

out of the water and leave it to cool. 3. In an oven-proof dish, add the butter

and sauté all the spices gently. Add the orange juice and honey and bring to simmer stir to incorporate (you are looking to have a thin spiced syrup). 4. Add the hocks to the same dish and

baste / glaze with the syrup, place in the oven for 50 minutes and baste every 10 minutes until glazed and roasted.

Apple Purée Preparation: 30 minutes Makes 8-10 portions INGREDIENTS FOR APPLE PURÉE

Braised red cabbage This can be prepared a day in advance. Preparation: 45 minutes YOU WILL NEED

1 head of red cabbage, shredded 0g golden raisins • 250ml red wine 1 0ml red wine vinegar 1 grated green apple 100g demerara sugar demerara 1 shallot sliced • 1 0ml orange uice 100g red currant elly • 2 cloves 2 cinnamon quills 20g ginger, finely grated

1. Marinade the shredded cabbage

with all the ingredients overnight. 2. Strain the cabbage and

reserve the marinade. 3. Set thick-bottomed wide pan on the heat

and sweat the cabbage until it softens. Add the marinade and reduce the liquid by half. 4. Place a lid on the pan and braise

the cabbage in an oven at 150°C for 90minutes, until it is soft and sticky.

Creamed potatoes with whole grain mustard Preparation: 40 minutes Serves 6 - 8

500g golden delicious apples, peeled and diced 30g castor sugar 30g butter 50ml Calvados half a vanilla pod

500g potatoes suitable for mash 150g unsalted utter • 1g ne salt 150ml cream • 25g whole grain mustard

1. In a thick bottomed pan, melt together

skin on, gently poach them in salted water until cooked through.

the sugar, butter and vanilla. Cook gently and stir constantly until all the ingredients are melted together. 2. Add the Calvados and deglaze, add the

chopped apples, cover and cook for 10 minutes with the lid on. Uncover and cook for 15 minutes without the lid. 3. Transfer to a liquidiser and blend

to a purée, and run through a sieve.


1. Wash the potatoes and, leaving the

2. When cooked and still hot, peel

the potatoes and pass through a fine drum sieve or a potato masher. 3. In a pan, cook together the butter

and cream, season with salt, add the potatoes and incorporate together. 4. Season the potatoes with whole

grain mustard to taste.




Traditional Tuscan ‘Panforte’ This can be prepared two days in advance.

Preparation: 30 minutes • Makes 4 portions


100g pistachio nuts 100g walnuts 100g nibbed almonds 90g candied peel 100g flour 1½ teaspoons cocoa powder ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder ½ teaspoon coriander powder ½ teaspoon all spice 150g honey 125g sugar 150g chocolate Icing sugar for dusting the top Rice paper



1. Heat oven to 175°C, roast

4. Add the nuts while slightly

the nuts until golden.

warm. Add the flour and spices and mix well to combine.

2. Mix the flour, spices and cocoa

powder together in a bowl.

5. Line a baking dish with rice paper,

3. Heat the honey to a gentle boil.

add the mixture and press it flat. Cover the top with rice paper.

Add the sugar and let it melt. Add the chocolate and incorporate all the ingredients, mixing until smooth.

6. Bake for 15 minutes and leave

it to cool and set overnight. 7. Next day, cut the panforte

into portions, dust them with icing sugar and serve.


Chestnut ‘Mont Blanc’ To avoid being rushed, you can prepare all the elements a day ahead. The desserts can be assembled just before a meal begins to be ready for serving at the end.

Preparation: 20 minutes Serves 6


195g butter 100g icing sugar 100g ground almonds 165g flour 1 pinch of salt

1. Cream together the butter and icing sugar until pale, and then fold in the dry ingredients. 2. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge.

Meringues Preparation: 15 minutes Serves 6 YOU WILL NEED

200g egg whites 400g castor sugar

1. In a clean mixing bowl,

place the egg whites with half the sugar and whisk until semi stiff. Add the rest of the sugar at intervals until firm and shiny. Place in a piping bag. 2. Pipe the meringues over an

oiled marble ball to create a hollow inside. Dry in an oven overnight at 50°C until hard.




Chestnut Cream This can be prepared a day ahead.

Preparation: 30 minutes YOU WILL NEED

500g chestnut purée 500g milk • 180g • 200g sugar 100g flour • 65g cornflour 8 yolks • 4 eggs 1 vanilla pod • 20ml dark rum

1. Bring the milk, cream and

vanilla pod to boil in a pan. Whisk in the chestnut purée and bring to the boil again. 2. Cream together the eggs and

sugar and mix in the flours. Fold both mixes together and add the dark rum for flavour.

Chestnut Diplomat Make this a day ahead.

Preparation: 30 minutes YOU WILL NEED

200g chestnut cream 200g whipped cream

Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into the chestnut cream. TO ASSEMBLE THE DESSERT

1. Line 10cm tart moulds with the

sable pastry and bake till cooked. 2. Fill the dry meringues with

the chestnut cream and place 2 together, enclosing the cream. 3. Place the stuffed meringues

in the middle of the tart. 4. Pipe around to cover the meringue

with the chestnut cream. 5. Place the Chestnut Diplomat into

a piping bag with a thin nozzle to form a spaghetti style of piping. Pipe over and around in a neat shape over the chestnut cream. 6. Dust with icing sugar and garnish

with candied chestnuts.




ERNST HAECKEL Born in 1834 in Potsdam and raised to be a scientist, Ernst Haeckel was inspired by nature and turned to a life in art. Text: Megan Mallia “Man is not above nature, but in nature.” One of Ernst Haeckel’s professors at university, Johannes Müller, first introduced him to the alien world of sea life. A physiologist and anatomist, Mülle took his keen student on a miniature peregrination one summer to the coast of Heligoland in the North Sea to study small sea creatures. For Haeckel, what came into view when he pored over the edge of the rocks into the pools beneath was a treasury of hidden beauties of all sizes and colours: algae, shells, glittering fish, sea flora. The summer at Heligoland left Haeckel drifting towards zoology, but he ignored the calling and followed his parents’ wishes for him to work towards a degree in medicine. After spending some time practising medicine, however, he decided to travel to Italy. Immersed in the culture of painting, he picked up a brush and proved a natural with pigments. Ernst Haeckel may have been a great thinker in evolutionary studies, but he was also the hand behind revolutionary artwork. He took the art of botanical illustration and applied it to marine biology, creating, as botanical illustrators also do, a beautiful blend of science and art. Each of his illustrations captures a natural life form in all its complexities and detail.



A treasury of hidden beauties of all sizes and colours

Otello by Gioachino Rossini

1 ,3 ,5 ,7 March, 2020 st


The opera will be sung in Italian with English and Maltese surtitles




Low alcohol drinks are the newest trend. Try out these Waterbiscuit cocktails by Rodney Pisani, food and beverage manager, Zdravko Mitev, beverage manager, and Aleksandr Zivadinovic, bar supervisor at Waterbiscuit, Intercontinental Hotel. Photography: Brian Grech


iterally, ‘cocktail’ describes a tail that ‘cocks up’. How it came to be a popular name for mixed drinks is unknown. The word first appeared in America in 1806, which is surprisingly early for a slang term now associated with the glamour of the 1920s. Cocktail culture as we know it was born in the Prohibition era when US temperance societies forced in legislation to clamp down on legal drinking, prompting the rise of an illicit industry. Despite the draconian new laws, alcohol continued to flow in unlicensed bars, much of it of dubious quality and with less than desirable taste. To made the bootleg drink more palatable, bar tenders mixed in other ingredients. Across the Atlantic, cocktail drinking was liberal and liberating. Unbound by prohibition laws, fashionable bars served mixed drinks to society’s bright young things. The trend grew and by 1930, the cocktail barman was a fixture of the social scene and an entire culture was born. Drinking cocktails became aspirational, rather than merely the capricious pursuit of the wealthy. Before long, social convention set in with socially prescribed drinking hours and suitable clothing – the cocktail dress.

COCKTAIL In the 1960s, cocktail drinking lost its appeal. Its rigid social conventions – far in time and form from their roots in the illicit bars of the Prohbition era – put it at odds with the iconoclastic years of revolution. Cocktails never quite disappeared from bar menus but it would be another few decades before they enjoyed a revival. Increased mobility, affluence, and curiousity made the unfamiliar familiar. Young people with more money to spend and broader horizons rediscovered the fun and pleasure of mixed drinks. Cocktail-drinking had come full circle.








A Warm Welcome 2.5 cl Aperol 2 cl Aecorn Aromatic 2 cl fresh grapefruit

1. Serve this in a thin highball glass,

poured over clear rectangular ice.

2. Top up with Earl Grey Kombucha. 3. Garnish with a mint leaf and snap pea.




Marketed and Distributed by Farsons Beverage Imports Co. Ltd, The Brewery, Mdina Road, Mrieħel BKR 3000. Tel: 2381 4400

di Milano





24/25 2 cl Aecorn Bitter 1.5 cl Beetroot Shrub 1.5 1883 Agave

1. Pour over a clear ice chunk in a 1926 Speakeasy coupe. 2. Top up with soda. 3. Serve this ungarnished.




Your Wish 1.5 cl Roots Diktamo 3.5 cl Seedlip Grove 42 2.5 cl fresh pineapple

1. Pour this over crystal clear ice in a Butler glass. 2. Top up with Green Tea Kombucha. 3. Garnish with a spinach leaf.




Dramboni 3 dashes Pimento Dram 2 cl Aecorn Dry 1 cl Campari 2 dashes coffee essence

1. Pour this over crystal clear chunk

ice in a thin rocks glass.

2. Top up with tonic. 3. Garnish with dehydrated pineapple

and cold blown raspberries.







Merry Rootsmas 1.5 cl Roots Kanela 2 cl Marques De Riscal Tempranillo 1.5 cl banana cordial

1. You’ll need clear ice and a connexion highball glass for this. 2. Top up with ginger ale. 3. Garnish with a vanilla pod.




Talk to us | 2131 2020 | bov.com Issued by Bank of Valletta p.l.c., 58, Triq San Żakkarija, Il-Belt Valletta VLT 1130. Bank of Valletta p.l.c. is a public limited company regulated by the MFSA and is licensed to carry out the business of banking in terms of the Banking Act (Cap. 371 of the Laws of Malta).



An everyday drink that has fallen into habit co ee hardly gains a second thought. onor de alzac wrote once like the ma ority of us think that co ee sets the blood in motion so that the driving force springs from it yet there is more to it than its ca einating ualities. Compiled by Megan Mallia

All Good Coffee is Turkish Coffee Turkish coffee is not a specific type of bean or place of origin. Any coffee from anywhere in the world has the potential of being Turkish, as the term refers to the way the drink is brewed. Beans are very finely ground and then added to cold water before being heated up in a brass pot. The heat is kept up until the brew rises and froths at the surface. The appearance of creamy foam is the telling sign of a perfectly brewed cup. According to the Turks, the thicker it is, the better - they say that you should be able to float a horseshoe on a good cup of coffee.

Single Estate Dream As with wine, the origin of a coffee bean makes a difference to its taste. In the world of single estate coffee, perhaps the best known comes from the Blue Mountains in Jamaica, to where coffee was first introduced in the early 17th century. The cool and misty climate and frequent rainfall in the region paired with the rich soil is an ideal environment for coffee growing, but supplies remain limited, making Blue Mountain coffee among the world’s most expensive. A bag of beans will set you back approximately four times what you would pay for a blend of commodity grade coffee. Not that price is any deterrent. Blue Mountain coffee is one of the most sought-after single estate coffees because of its mild, smooth taste which lacks bitterness and is especially popular in Japan, which buys up most of Jamaica’s premium cash crop.

Hawaiian Kona coffee Coffee was introduced to Hawaii in the 19th century, from Brazil. The coffee bean was a possession of the wealthy, for plantations were under the control of the higher ranks of society. After the international recession in the coffee market at the tail end of the 19th century, however, these large plantations were broken up and democratised into smaller family-run farms. To be considered Kona coffee, the beans must grow on the strip of land known as the “Kona Coffee Belt”, which lies on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa volcanoes. 150



COFFEE NOTES Moka Pot Panic Symbolic of Italy and coffee culture, the moka pot has been an iconic element in kitchens for decades. It enjoyed a place in many of the world’s design museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, besides a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most popular coffee maker in the world. Recently, however, trouble began brewing for Italian brand Bialetti, producers of the original moka pot. The company is in a precarious state, not least because of fierce competition from gadgets like the coffee pod machines. Dig your moka pot out again from the longforgotten depths of your kitchen cupboard, or get one from the shops while you still can.

Coffee quotes Alexandre Dumas tells how Napoleon, coming upon a priest roasting his coffee, heard him say: “I am doing the same as Your Majesty. I am burning colonial produce.” The 19th century edition of La Rousse declared that “coffee is particularly indicated for men of letters, soldiers, sailors, all workers who have to stay in hot surroundings, and lastly, to all inhabitants of a country where cretinism is rife.” Coffee goes global Coffee was ubiquitous in Europe’s major towns and cities by the 17th century when the coffee trade was a fiercely-protected monopoly, controlled by the Ottoman hegemony together with Arab leaders. In 1616, spies from Holland somehow managed to smuggle coffee seedlings from the Arab territories to the Dutch colony in Java. Remarkably, these few seedlings were the stock from which all coffee plants outside the Middle East and Ethiopia have since been derived: the Adam and Eve of today’s Javanese, Hawaiian, Colombian, Kenya and Guatemalan coffee plants.





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Nothing quite warms you up on a chilly day, or cools you on a musky summer evening, than a good cup of tea. Text: Megan Mallia


egend has it that the discovery of the golden drink goes back to 2737 BC China. Emperor Shen Nung, who happened to be a herbalist, was seated beneath a Camellia sinesis tree, waiting for his servant to bring him a cup of water that he was boiling to make it drinkable. A breeze shook the foliage overhead, and a few leaves from a branch lilted down through the air, landing in Shen Nung’s cup. On a whim, he decided to sip the infusion that his baffled servant had accidentally created. With that, the tea infusion was born. The story of Shen Nung has a major flaw, however. An infusion made by steeping fresh, unprocessed tea leaves cannot be drunk unless one enjoys a rather bitter taste. The unpleasant taste of fresh leaves is a natural deterrent mechanism – the bitterness wards off foraging animals. The tea we know and drink today is the result of careful, selective harvesting and processing the leaves into green, Oolong and black tea.



Tea is harvested when the plants produce a ‘flush’ of new leaves. It is these new shoots which produce the most flavoursome tea. First-flush tea is produced from the first shoots of the season, which gives them a distinguished taste that differs from subsequent flushes. With some types of tea – Darjeeling, for instance - the first flush of the season is more fragrant and refined than the second flush, and is more valuable. Second-flush Assam, on the other hand, commands a much higher price than first-flush because its taste is more robust. In both Assam and Darjeeling, new leaves sprout only at particular times of the year, making the teas rarer and therefore more expensive. From the simplicity of putting the kettle on to boil in the quiet moments before a household wakes up to the elaborate custom of the Japanese tea ceremony, the ritual associated with teadrinking holds much of its appeal. In The Book of Tea, published in 1906, Japanese scholar Kakuzo Okakura

poetically and philosophically celebrates the aesthetics of the tea room, the tea ceremony and the elixir itself. Okakura writes about tea in the way one might enjoy a painting, arguing for an appreciation of the imperfect and the beauty of simplicity. “The afternoon glow is brightening the bamboos, the fountains are bubbling with delight, the soughing of the pines is heard in our kettle,” he says. The traditional Japanese tea ceremony echoes much of what Okakura wrote in The Book of Tea. Far from being simply a time to sip the hot beverage, the ceremony centres around the enjoyment of the host’s


Cocoa tea Surely everyone is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a wintry fireside candles at four o clock warm hearth rugs tea a fair tea maker shutters closed curtains owing in ample draperies to the oor whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without. Thomas de Quincy, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

Many places around the world have their own particular type of tea that they are known for, yet not all are so. In the Caribbean, for example, one of the most popular beverages is cocoa tea. Made from a mixture of ground bitter cocoa, milk, water and spices including nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and bay leaf, the ‘tea’ is not actually made from tea leaves at all. The reason for it being considered a tea is that any hot drink consumed at breakfast in the Caribbean is called a tea. In St. Lucia, cocoa tea is even made into a meal in its own right by boiling flour dumplings in it.

Keep it fresh

hospitality and kindness, and escapist pleasure from the tensions and stresses of everyday life. An authentic ceremony begins when the multi-course kaiseki meal ends. A bowl of thick tea is served first and a thin tea follows. The nineteenth century journalisthistorian Lafcadio Hearn, one of the few foreigners ever allowed to penetrate closed Japanese society, described the process.: “The tea ceremony requires years of training and practice to graduate in art…yet the whole of this art, as to its detail, signifies no more than the making and serving of a cup of tea. The supremely important matter is that the act be performed in the most perfect, most polite, most graceful, most charming manner possible.” Ever y thing in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony is predefined and choreographed, right down to the very details of hand movements and dress codes. The teahouse is reached by a stone path running through a tranquil garden, and a stone basin for people to clean their hands stands outside. Today, the traditional conventions are no longer widely followed and are largely confined to venues that organize elaborate ceremonies for curious tourists. Though tea is steeped in history, and culture shapes it into beautiful varieties and traditions, we hardly ever ponder these matters when letting the soul-warming liquid steam under our chins from our mugs anymore. Sometimes, it is much more pleasant to think about nothing in particular and just enjoy the company of fellow tea-drinkers while you sip.



Tea keeps best in an airtight container stored away from the light. If it is exposed to oxygen, daylight, or humidity it will degrade. Stored well, it will remain fresh for several months. If you enjoy tea, it is worth keeping a kettle specifically for the purpose of preparing water for teadrinking. The deposits left behind by boiling hard tap water will affect the taste of your tea.

The perfect brew When buying tea from a specialist shop, ask about the right brewing time and temperature as the requirements can vary widely for different types of black, oolong, white, and green teas. The more robust teas can withstand high temperatures but the wrong brewing time and temperature can ruin the taste of more delicate teas. For strong black tea, use water that has just reached boiling point and let it infuse for 3-5 minutes. Oolong tea brews best in water that is hot but hasn’t yet begun to boil. Brewing time varies according to the type of Oolong, from 1 to 5 minutes. For green teas, water should be heated to 60-75°C. Chinese green tea will need 3-4 minutes to brew. Japanese green tea should not brew for more than a minute or two. Water for white tea needs to be below boiling point, but hotter than for green tea, approximately 75-85°C. Some white teas have longer brewing times of up to 10 minutes and can be infused several times. The first tea was made by pressing the fresh green leaves of the tea plant into ‘cakes’ that were then roasted to form hard bricks. These could be crumbled for use when needed. They were also easily transportable along the Silk Route. The spread of tea-drinking is linked to the movement of Buddhist priests through Asia – they drank it to stay awake during long religious ceremonies. The writer Samuel Johnson described himself as “a hardened and shameless tea-drinker who has, for twenty years, diluted his meals with only the infusion of this fascinating plant; whose kettle has scarcely time to cool, who with tea amuses the evening, with tea solaces the midnight, and with tea welcomes the morning.”



DOORS An historic palazzo at the heart of Valletta will soon be open to visitors, showcasing Caravaggio’s masterpieces. Text: Theresa Vella Images: © St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation Lithograph: © National Library of Malta




Caravaggio is an elusive character, but when in front of his paintings you can actually feel his spirit.





ne of the oldest houses in Valletta was that of the Grand Prior of the Conventual church of St John, which was built together with the Oratory of the church, in 1605, where St John’s Square meets Merchants Street. Its proximity to the holiest building of the religious and military Order of St John gave status to the most important Hospitaller after the Grand Master. In fact, it was more of a seat of authority than merely a grand residence, as the palazzo also included a library with liturgical books as well as an archive of parochial registers, and records of masses said for different foundations and charities, besides other documents. Equally significant, but less wellknown, was that the Prior’s house had an inner doorway which led directly up a few steps into the Oratory. The Spaniard Pedro Camarasa was the first Grand Prior who could walk privately into the chapel to contemplate the striking altar-painting that has intrigued and marvelled viewers ever since 1608, when Caravaggio signed off his largest ever painting, The Beheading of the Baptist of St John. The painting shows the gruesome loneliness of martyrdom, a destiny for which novices were prepared in their defence of the Faith on the battlefield and the high seas. The last Prior to enjoy the privilege of meditating silently at the altar beneath the painting was Fra Raimondo Albino Menville who lived through the departure of the Order from Malta in 1798 and the siege of Valletta during French rule. At his death in 1801, that door to the Oratory was shut for the last time and remained locked for the next two centuries.




The National Library of Malta


he Prior’s house underwent several changes at it was adapted to many secular uses, including a St Joseph’s School for Girls on the piano nobile, the textile shop Camilleri Paris Mode on the Merchants Street side, and Bank of Valletta on the St John’s Street side. Its old spaces were lost as internal walls fell and its upper floor was bombed during WWII. Indeed, next to nothing is left by which to recognise its original purpose as a baroque residence. The full turn of the circle came in the summer of 2019 when the historic doorway was once more reinstated, reuniting the former palazzo with the Oratory. The St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation succeeded in acquiring the premises and converted it into a new extension to the Oratory of the Decollatio. Soon, visitors who flock to see Caravaggio’s Beheading will walk through that doorway to the newly-named Caravaggio Wing, which is being set up to showcase the two masterpieces by the world-famous artist to be found under the guardianship of the St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation.

Cynthia Degiorgio, CEO of the St John’s CoCatheral Foundation and the cathedral’s Curator reviews the works in progress by Camray contractors and Agius Stoneworks.



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n the new Caravaggio Wing, the second painting by Caravaggio, the St Jerome, will be given the greater space which it merits, allowing for its appreciation and enjoyment on its own. Just as it once graced the walls of Fra Ippolito Malaspina’s palazzo, before he bequeathed it to the chapel of Italy at his death in 1626, it will now be seen on the walls of the Caravaggio Wing. Further in, visitors can sit in an auditorium – named “Meet Caravaggio” – to see and listen to audiovisuals on the life of the artist in Malta between July 1607 and October 1608, first as a novice then as a knight of the Order, as well as on his dramatic departure as he escaped from imprisonment in Fort St Angelo and sailed for Sicily.



Visitors will then be able to step upstairs to the piano nobile which until recently housed the magnificent Gobelins tapestries and other treasures of the former Conventual church. There, visitors will encounter Caravaggio’s paintings “face-to-face” via installations of state-ofthe-art projections. This will bring viewers up close to digitally enlarged details of the Beheading of the Baptist and the St Jerome, showing the artist’s brushwork, his modelling of the human figure, as well as his use of highlights in creating the chiaroscuro effect.

The Prior’s house underwent several changes at it was adapted to many secular uses.



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Just as it once graced the walls of Fra Ippolito Malaspina’s palazzo, before he bequeathed it to the chapel of Italy at his death in 1626, it will now be seen on the walls of the Caravaggio Wing.


n the words of Cynthia Degiorgio, the CEO of St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation , “Caravaggio is an elusive character, but when in front of his paintings you can actually feel his spirit. The new Wing is intended for visitors to experience this, to feel the artist’s presence.” Ever since it was established in 2001 following an agreement between the Government and the Catholic Church in Malta, the St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation has been the guardian of

unquestionably the greatest artistic treasures to be seen in the Maltese Islands. Its purpose is to ensure that this heritage is conserved to internationally-accepted standards, while being accessible to the thousands of visitors who daily walk through the doors of St John’s Co-Cathedral. While the Foundation is concurrently working on the new museum planned to house the recently-conserved Gobelins Tapestries, it will soon also be re-uniting the Oratory with the new Caravaggio Wing and opening it to visitors. Theresa Vella is an art historian and consultant museologist.







BIRD’S EYE VIEW A duplex apartment created out of space in two adjacent buildings has a stylish city feel.

Project Team Spatial Design / Interior Design – Dstudio Planning & structural engineering: Sapienza & Sullivan Project manager: Chris Licari Photography: Tonio Lombardi





hen the apar tment ’s owner acquired the top floors of the two adjacent buildings, he approached Dstudio to design an additional floor above and develop the space into multiple units: one for the owner, and another to be made available for rent. The design brief was for the architecture to take advantage of the apartment’s position with panoramic views over St. Julian’s Bay and to create an extraordinary and unique internal experience.




The duplex apartment enjoys panoramic views over the neighbouring bay through large, double-height doors. The air-conditioning is by Cutrico.

The concrete waffle ceiling allowed for an increased ceiling space with a raw and industrial aesthetic, which contrasts with the smooth marble.





he design of extension was a crucial part of the overall project. As it is clearly seen from the bay, working in a sensitive and much-loved location meant that the back facade had to offer something different. The challenge was to merge two narrow independent blocks and connect them in the new extension.






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Sound-insulated glass windows partition off the lift machinery, turning a functional mechanism into an interesting feature.


Studio had previously worked with the same client on his first home and wanted to develop an interior scheme which has a more mature and luxurious feel, reflecting the client’s lifestyle. This being a new development within a contemporary context, the designers allowed themselves to imagine modern spaces and forms, unconstrained by nostalgia. The space was planned to reflect the vibrant, social and festive feel of St. Julian’s while at the same time being a refuge from the busyness of the area.

q The indoor dining area on the lower level is directly beneath the sitting area and visually connected through the glass panes set into the floor above.



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The front of the apartment is entirely in glass. The doors by Adoremore are designed to appear to be double-height but open separately on each level.


he designers took their cues from cities like New York where grand residences perched high up in skyscrapers overlook the city below. The design elements borrowed from the city aesthetic include the open-plan spaces associated with loftliving, multiple terraces, double height apertures, and a roof garden which can be used for entertaining.

The back area of the apartment was designed around the views of the bay below.




The glass doors can be drawn back, blending the indoor and outdoor spaces.




A concrete waffle ceiling allowed an increased ceiling span.


he duplex apartment is designed to welcome guests throughout but afford privacy to the homeowner. The master bedroom and bathroom, living area, guest WC, kitchenette and a home office occupy the upper floor. Unusually for a Maltese context, the ensuite bathroom is not surrounded by enclosing walls, its customised structural units on open display. The formal kitchen and dining area and an additional bedroom for 1-2 with its own ensuite bathroom are on the lower floor. The two levels are visually connected through glass panels set into the upper floor. Rather than being relegated to a utilitarian space for water tanks and laundry, the roof has been designed as a space for entertaining with a garden, its own outdoor kitchen and dining table.



The interior architecture and design was inspired by the loftliving lifestyle of New York City.

q The marble was selected for its strong vein and contrast which shows up well in the bookmatched marble slabs. The marble works are by Reuben Lautier.


u The shower and bathroom on the upper level are open plan with custommade sanitaryware in marble. q The neutral colour scheme foregrounds the richly varied textures, contrasting rough and smooth.





ntry to the duplex apartment is through the front door on the lower level or via the lift direct to the upper floor. Internally, the two levels are connected by an open staircase clad in American walnut, with extra storage space tucked into the bottom run of stairs. Glass blocks fill a double height opening in the wall which rises through the stairwell, allowing natural light to diffuse in. A starburst-like feature chandelier from Charles Lehaby in the UK hangs in the stairwell void.

The designers took their cues from cities like New York.





he walls are dressed in an unusual and rare lilac marble chosen for its strong vein and contrast. The marble is installed in bookmatched slabs across both levels of the apartment to stunning effect. It visually links both levels and offers seamless transition between the two spaces. The dual tone kitchen on the lower level includes a corian-wrapped island and customised cabinetry in matt petrol blue. Its no-fuss design and clean lines create sculptural volumes within the clean, angular space. Food preparation and cooking take centre stage, heightening the everyday experience of living here.

The kitchenette on the upper level complements the main kitchen on the floor below. 182




he back area of the apartment was designed around the views of the bay below. Potential terrace space was sacrificed on the upper level to create a larger terrace on the lower level with a double height aperture. To experience the double-height glass aperture internally without losing additional floor space, glass panels were installed at the front of the upper floor, visually linking the two levels and integrating the spaces. A steel beam inserted between the levels is finished in the same midnight blue as the apertures allowed for two separate apertures to be installed, reducing costs without visually limiting the design.



The space on the upper level is freeflowing. There are no partition walls around the bathing area nor doors to the bedroom. Curtains and a frosted glass screen offer privacy.


T&F DESIGN The upper level is set back from the glass front, creating an indoor balcony effect. Glass panels in the floor visually connect the two levels.


n the upper level, a concrete waffle ceiling allowed an increased ceiling span and offers a raw and industrial aesthetic that provides an interesting contrast to the luxury of the marble. The casting of the ceiling needed special care as the space for the light fittings needed to be perfectly aligned and centred in each bay. The lack of doors and enclosing walls in the bedroom area is unusual but this creates a free-flowing space with a bathroom that opens up onto the terrace. For privacy, a frosted glass screen with integrated LED lighting form a boundary to the bathing space. The custom-made trough basin can be used from both sides and allows generous counter space.




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Richard England is the first ever recipient of the Premju Emanuele Luigi Galizia Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2019 Robert Matthew Award by the Commonwealth Association of Architects. Theresa Vella looks back at some of his iconic work. Photography: Richard England Photos of Dar il-Ħanin Samaritan – Alan Carville for Light Design Solutions Ltd.

AND FORM “The soul needs more space than the body.” Axel Munthe




Photo: Rene Rossignaud

“Richard England is a master builder. His is an architecture which is local but also global. His language is a language of poetry.”


s one of the leading figures of Modernism in Malta, whose achievements have also been acknowledged by his peers worldwide, Richard England has left his mark in more ways than in stone and mortar. While his iconic Manikata Church heralded a new architectural landscape, it is also the one piece which, when asked, most Maltese people will single out as England’s oeuvre.



Renzo Piano


Villa La Maltija - Naxxar, 1966


is later churches and chapels, such as the Millenium Chapel in Paceville and the Dun Gorg Meditation Chapel in Blata l-Bajda, are sanctuaries which, in the architect’s words “evoke the unseen in the seen and transcend the measurable to the immeasurable, while bringing together sacred time and sacred space to evoke an eternal presence.” Such spaces continue to engage England’s creative mind, and one hopes that other projects may come to fruition, in Malta and elsewhere.

Architecture must first of all enrich our emotions, but also relate to place, memory and the Zeitgeist of the age. Richard England



Church of St Joseph - Manikata


Salina Bay Hotel - Salina, 1970


n the pioneering spirit of the country’s newly-achieved Independence, Richard England created a new aesthetic out of forms found in the rural, the elemental and the pre-historic: the Joinwell showrooms in Sliema, the Bank Computer Centre in Qormi, Hotel Cavalieri in St Julian’, as well as the less-known Villa La Maltija in Naxxar and the Festaval Tourist Village in Mellieha are only a few examples. Though several of England’s projects have changed – sometimes unrecognisably while others have been removed outright – several others are there to be seen and admired, though the landscape to which they once naturally belonged has now disappeared.



Reflections on architecture Richard England

“While others were building ships in their bottles, I was building a lighthouse” C. S. Lewis

As architects we must design buildings which extend their functional, social and physical requirements to higher emotional ones which enrich the spirit and enhance the soul. The words of Tenessee Williams “I don’t want reality, I want magic” and Jorge Luis Borges’ “my business is to weave dreams” best define my design philosophy. Architecture must first of all enrich our emotions, but also relate to place, memory and the Zeitgeist of the age. In these days where we know the price of everything and the value of nothing and all is measured in monetary terms, we are even more in need of an architecture of beauty and harmony to enhance and enrich our materialistic turbulent lifestyle. It is also worth remembering “architects today need more eco than ego.” Looking back on the architecture of the past, it strikes me that although we still have much to learn, we have more to remember.



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rom hotels and tourist complexes, to his office structures and adaptations of older sites, England’s buildings have shaped the lives of their users, a responsibility which the architect has carried ably well. One urban project which characterises England’s sensitivity to its residents is Dar il-Hanin Samaritan, a home for retired members of M.U.S.E.U.M., the religious community of lay affiliates established by St George Preca. Built in the 1990s, the residential complex and its landscaped garden best illustrate England’s ability to channel the spirit of place into his designs. Working with the colourism and theatricality of post-modernism he created a combination of intimacy and openness in spaces which are inter-connected by porticoes. The fragrance of the garden’s trees and plants wafts along to the added element of sound coming from the flowing waters of fountains.

Hotel Cavalieri - St Julians, 1968

In Richard England we have a magician of form, colour and chiaroscuro that makes him the architectural Caravaggio of our times Charles Knevitt, Honorary Fellow, RIBA

Bank Computer Centre - Qormi, 1968










ichard England’s architectural principles have served as a fine example to emulate, demonstrating the near-organic relationship which can be achieved between buildings and their surroundings through an understanding of the memories of place. His buildings have influenced more than one generation of Maltese architects. Indeed, many are those younger architects who, like England, have had their work lauded in the pages of Taste & Flair. As professional members of Malta’s Kamra tal-Periti they have publicly acknowledged England’s impact on architecture: England was the first recipient of the Premju E.L. Galizia lifetime achievement award, which was established in 2018 and named after Architect Emanuele Luigi Galizia (18301907), “the forefather of the modern Perit” (and ancestor of this magazine’s publishers).




Joinwell Showrooms - Sliema, 1965


ore recently, Richard England was nominated for the Robert Matthew Award, also by the Kamra tal-Periti. The Award is given by the Commonwealth Association of Architects to an architect or architectural office making the most outstanding contribution, having particular relevance to the country or region in which they practise.



The taste that brings us together


Festaval - Mellieha, 1978


ut of five nominees for the 2019 edition of the Robert Matthew Award, Richard England was chosen for the honour by the CAA jury. In accepting the award, England reiterated his “life-long belief in an architecture which belongs primarily to a place and its memories, and also to its time in a form of continuity within change”, and his belief in “an architecture which enhances the senses, enriches the spirit and elevates the soul … making the ordinary extraordinary”.

Festaval - Mellieha, 1978




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7. The Valletta Waterfront Christmas Wonderland. Throughout December, the historic Valletta Waterfront will transform into a festive wonderland with a mix of seasonal décor including a 35-foot Christmas tree, Santa’s House and Workshop and his Enchanted Snow Garden, as well as music, food and free activities including marching bands, choirs, a miniature Christmas village, traditional Maltese cribs and more. Children can enjoy face painting, meeting all-time favourite characters, bouncy castles and interactive seasonal games while Santa and his helpers will be available for photos. www.vallettawaterfront.com/christmas


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1. Unique illuminated Christmas objects are certain to bring out the festive spirit in all. We have a vast selection available, from faux crystal reindeers, to intricately made stars, snowflakes and super-sized baubles with twinkling LED lights, also suitable for external use. Featured here is the brown copper metal illuminated 3D star which retails at €64.90. Available from ESS Ltd, Mriehel. 2. Carpets of all shapes, sizes and finishes. Small, medium, large, extra large, or extra extra large. Square, round, oval or rectangle. Thick, thin or shaggy pile. From black to white and anything in between. Customise your carpet to perfectly fit your room and style. View the latest selection at Satariano, Valley Road, B’Kara 3. Create a wonderful ambience with stunning handcrafted lanterns by Mdina Glass. They look amazing with candlelight or, for that festive look, with fairy lights. Also, don’t forget the Mdina Glass Pre-Christmas Sale, 30 November – 15 December for great discounts. For more info: www.mdinaglass.com.mt, tel: +356 2141 5786 or find Mdina Glass on facebook.com/mdinaglass

4. Dialma Brown is more than a design style, it’s a lifestyle that creates perfect harmony and unexpected contrast. Come and check out the latest fabulous collection at Satariano, Valley Road, B’Kara tel: 2149 2149. 5. Once upon a time… Coincasa dedicates the 2019 Christmas collection to the wonderful world of fairy tales. Images from our favourite childhood bedtime stories have been translated into nostalgic accessories, furnishings and décor using a magical world of spheres, trees, soft hues and crockery reminiscent of large banquets. Enter this fantastical world of memories with the Coincasa 2019 exclusively at The Atrium in Mriehel. 6. Check out the brand new ‘Cresta’ range of handmade candleholders, candlesticks and candelabras by Mdina Glass. They are perfect for decorating the seasonal dinner table and make great gift ideas, too. Don’t forget the Mdina Glass Pre-Christmas Sale, 30 November – 15 December for great discounts. For more info: www.mdinaglass.com.mt, tel: +356 2141 5786 or find Mdina Glass on facebook.com/mdinaglass




Leonardo da Vinci

Musée du Louvre, until 24 February 2020


o commemorate the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci in France, the Musée du Louvre is holding a major retrospective of his work and his “science of painting”, the instrument through which he brought life to his paintings. The museum holds five paintings by Leonardo, the world’s largest single collection, including the Mona Lisa. No more than 20 paintings have been attributed to Leonardo da Vinci. 11 of them are on display at the Louvre exhibition, offering visitors a unique opportunity to see more than half of the artist’s known paintings in the same place. The most famous of Leonardo’s paintings, the Mona Lisa, will remain on display in the galleries of the permanent collection. The exhibition display includes 22 of Leonardo’s drawings and more than 135 other items includes manuscripts, scultpures and objets d’art from the Royal Collection, the British Museum, the National Gallery in London, the Vatican Pinacoteca, the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, the Galleria Nazionale in Parma, the State Hermitage in Saint Petersburg .the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Institut de France. The extraordinary renown of this endlessly curious artist, who is seen as the embodiment of universal genius and knowledge, the nearly surrealist aura of the Mona Lisa, and the considerable literature that has amassed from da Vinci’s lifetime, provide an ambiguous and fragmented vision of the artist’s relationship to painting. The exhibition is the culmination of more than ten years of work, including new scientific examinations of the Louvre’s paintings, and the conservation treatment of three of them (the Saint Anne, La Belle Ferronnière, and the Saint John the Baptist), allowing for better understanding of da Vinci’s artistic practice and pictorial technique. The exhibition also aims to shed light on his life through the reexamination of historical documentation which breaks

Leonardo da Vinci, Saint Anne, the Virgin, and the Infant Jesus playing with a Lamb, know as The Saint Anne, c. 1503-1519. Oil on wood. Paris, Louvre Museum department of Painting, INV. 776 © RMN-Grand Palais (musée du Louvre) / René-Gabriel Ojéda.

with the canonical approach to the life of the Florentine master—based on six chronological periods punctuated by his geographical movements— turning to a selection of keys that provide access to his universe, creating a vision of an exceptionally free-spirited man and artist.

The next issue of will be out on 16th February 2020 with The Malta Independent on Sunday.



The exhibition concludes with a virtual reality experience which allows visitors to get closer than ever to the Mona Lisa. Exhibition curators: Vincent Delieuvin, Department of Paintings, and Louis Frank, Department of Prints and Drawings, Musée du Louvre. For advertising, contact Sean Ellul on +356 7921 0705 or 21 345 888 ext 123 sellul@independent.com.mt

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Taste December 2019  

Taste December 2019